Q+A with Duke pitching coach on Marcus Stroman

TORONTO — Duke pitching coach Sean Snedeker spoke with MLB.com about right-hander Marcus Stroman, who the Blue Jays selected at No. 22 overall in the First-Year Player Draft on Monday.

Below are some of the highlights.

On whether he thinks Stroman should start or come out of the bullpen:

“Here’s the thing with Marcus, and I would not have said this prior to this year — he can literally do whatever the Blue Jays would like him to do. He is capable and equipped to be a starter or reliever. I think he projects more as a back of the bullpen-type of guy because his velocity will increase and he will be more aggressive.”

On his pitching arsenal:

“The quality of his pitches are Major League ready. Stroman has the complete package. He has four pitches that he throws all for strikes, with plus velocity. If you are grading these pitches out, they are all Major League average to plus pitches. To find that in one package is extremely rare, when you are talking about being able to do it and do it consistently in the strike zone. He showed all season long that he was capable of doing that.”

On Stroman’s progression over his three years in college:

“He had good stuff coming into Duke. The thing we really worked on was to be able to command a fastball, number one. When he came in he was used to overpowering guys with a fastball without much thought to command and locate. That, obviously, evolved and the emphasis was put on him right away to be down in the zone.”

On where he stacks up to others he has coached:

“I think the Blue Jays are in for quite a treat. The kid competes, he’s athletic and he’s as close to Major League ready right now as anybody I’ve ever had his age, and I’ve had roughly 40 Major League pitchers on my pitching staff in one shape or form. He’s a good one. He has a huge heart. He is singularly focused on playing in the big leagues.”

Snedeker thought Stroman would be taken higher in the Draft and believes a potential stigma exists in baseball about smaller guys. Stroman is listed at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds.

“The thing that drives him is, he wants to show that he can do it despite his size. His stuff will so overshadow his size. If you doubt the guy, it fuels his fire. I’m very confident he can make a rapid rise to the big leagues.

“I couldn’t be happier for him, personally. I’m extremely proud of him, a very good worker and he was an unbelievably consistent performer. He’s a special kid.”

Chris Toman

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