Now, to be honest, I’m not much of a gambling man anymore – other than, ya know, playing my Sunday NFL point spread picks on Pro Line, but there was a time where I really enjoyed placing a good ol’ fashion bet.
I will never forget the good ol’ days where I ended up in a bit of a holy shit gambling pickle. It was 1997. I was just seventeen years old. And somehow me and my good friend, Brad, managed to dig ourselves into a $1000 dollar hole with a bookie by the end of Sunday’s NFL games. And it’s not like we had the money to pay this debt.
I think I washed dishes at Kelsey’s for cash back then, as my part time job, but I can’t really remember because I had so many shitty high school part time jobs. I would quit most of them after a couple pay cheques – or get fired, but that doesn’t matter because this is supposed to be an article about the great Marcus Stroman, the HDMH kid, the Showstopper.
But I remember Brad and I decided that the best bet for us to make since we didn’t have any money was to double down on Monday night’s game. So we called up the bookie and placed a $1000 on the under, which, I think, was 37.5. So we went to a sports bar in St. Catharines called Wrigley’s Field to watch our fate. By half time the two teams, who I can’t remember, were already at a combined point total of 31 – so, yeah, we were feeling a bit fucked. We, of course, joked about how our arms would get broken, or our legs – we weren’t sure, but we knew we didn’t have the money to pay $2000 to the big bad bookie.
But the holy-shit-we-are-lucky thing is that for the 3rd and 4th quarter not a single goddamn point was scored. Not one. So we only had to pay the $100 juice on the original bets. Jesus we got lucky. Nowadays, of course, gambling is much safer (sort of) through all the online stuff, while safer in the sense that you won’t get your legs broken by some big guy named Sal, who looks like a hack boxer, but would fuck you up if you didn’t pay. A lesson for all you kids, don’t gamble - or just play Pro Line.
So I was perusing the ol’ Internet and found an article that mentions how Marcus Stroman ranks in the top 20 in the American League in strikeouts, and that it kind of defies his height, pitcher-wise, and, of course - this is the HDMH Kid we're talking about. They've got an o/u on his strikeout total at 170, which is pretty significant considering David Robertson of the Yankees total is around 91.5.
So I decided to dig around in Fan Graphs to look at all the saber numbers that are pretty damn interesting, especially since I’m not a math guy and I grew up respecting the numbers on the back of all my Upper Deck cards. And holy shit Marcus Stroman is having a year. He currently has 142 strikeouts, he’s punched in 172.1 IP, and has allowed only 59ER – not bad at all.
And when you do a standard leaderboard search amongst MLB pitchers, Stroman sits tenth among all MLB starting pitchers. And when you hit the ol’ advanced search button with all the fun FIP, xFIP, and WHIP kind of numbers that whip it good. Devo? No, okay, moving on … Stroman sits respectably at 18th in a great class of MLB awesome.
So I figure that since the new hot topic these day for most Blue Jays fans has been how bright the damn future is starting to look for the organization, maybe we should think of how vital a role Marcus Stroman will have when this future finally arrives.
Stroman’s only 26 right now and by the time a certain couple of names make their big debut, he may be one of the key leaders on this team. You’ve got to like the idea that Stroman is a franchise pitcher moving forward and he doesn’t hit free agency until 2021. Now, will this timeline work with the prospects moving up through the system, who knows? And will the Jays be able to sign both Sanchez and Stroman to big time contracts for 2021? I’m not sure, they may have to choose one.
And, I’d bet my money that Stroman is the guy who remains a Blue Jay and that Sanchez is the one who signs some big Scot Boras contract somewhere else – or the team may end up trading him if they think he’s looking to move on. Who the hell knows? I certainly don’t, this is all-2020ish talk and I don’t even know what the hell I’m going to have for dinner tonight. The one thing I'm sure of in 2020 is that the team will be younger, Vlad Jr. and Bichette jerseys will be top sellers, and the Dome will serve good over priced hipster food, which will probably be complimented by some kind of craft beer.
So, ahh, yeah, it’s all hooey, but it’s fun hooey, well, at least, for me. But the one thing I know is that with all this future talk of awesome, I like the idea of Marcus Stroman as the Captain in the rotation who quick pitches his way to having his number put up on the Level Of Excellence one day. Call me crazy, call me optimistic, but that’s a bet I would make.