It's the fantasy baseball draft season. To us baseball nerds, few things are more exciting than arguing about player rankings. Today, we'll discuss and compare Marcus Stroman's RotoBaller staff rankings. He was ranked No. 99 by Nick Mariano, and No. 157 by Kyle Bishop.
Throughout this series, we'll be using our February Staff Rankings to debate where to draft certain players. In cases where our writers had discrepancies, we've asked them to explain their rankings. These debates will provide us with some well-rounded analysis, and help identify undervalued/overvalued draft picks.
Editor's note: Check out our previous rankings debates on Jose Ramirez, Trea Turner, J.D Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Jose Abreu, Bryce Harper, Carlos Martinez, Kyle Schwarber, Jonathan Villar, Kenta Maeda, Andrew McCutchen, and Gregory Polanco.
2017 Draft Rankings Debate: Marcus Stroman
Kyle Bishop's Rankings Analysis
His Overall Ranking: 157
Time was, I saw Marcus Stroman as a dark horse Cy Young candidate. Like the song says, though, those days are gone.
Now, when I look at Stroman, here's what I see: A guy whose K/9 ranks behind such luminaries as Wade Miley, Hector Santiago, and Andrew Cashner over the last three years. Who gave up 21 homers despite a groundball rate north of 60 percent. Whose ratios last season (4.37 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) were hardly worth a roster spot.
I'm aware that Stroman turned things around in the second half. But we can't just ignore how pedestrian he looked in the early going. Besides, even that improvement still left him with good numbers rather than great ones. To rank him ahead of guys with higher upside and/or who have already outperformed him, like Danny Salazar, Danny Duffy, and Carlos Martinez among others, is a perplexing decision on Nick's part.
I haven't forgotten what I used to see in Stroman. I'm just not paying an expectant price again.
Nick Mariano's Rankings Analysis
His Overall Ranking: 99
The Player Haters' Ball has decided to visit our friends to the North, I see. While I was skeptical of Stroman’s stock heading into 2016 thanks to an abbreviated 2015 that was too pretty (4-0, 1.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP), I am now skeptical of Stroman’s ’16 being too ugly.
First, he threw 204 innings – not sure why Steamer calls for only 166 frames (ZiPS at 140!). It finally gave him exposure to a full season, where he proved capable of adjustments. While the young arm’s first half yielded a 4.89 ERA, he turned that around in the second half with a 3.68 ERA (3.49 FIP, 3.01 xFIP) and a K-BB% of 17% (10.2% in the first half). The 22.7% strikeout rate was 23rd overall, which is lethal when combined with the bankable ~60% groundball rate.
Spoiler: His ratios weren’t good, but we’re better than surface stats. His 3.62 SIERA points to brighter days, and SIERA takes park into account so don’t give me any Rogers Centre grief. His 3.18 SIERA in 2014 really illustrates the potential here if he can continue to grow and work back toward his 6.5% HR/FB rate of 2014 (16.5% last season, sixth highest in the MLB). That stat is known to fluctuate.
There’s no doubting that this is somewhat risky, but this is a pitcher that looked strong in the second half and those who just look at his full season might be missing out on a star in the making. There’s risk with all of the pitchers in this area, but the things are trending up for No. 6. Noted fantasy baseball fanatic Sun Tzu said it best, “Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” I’m seizing all of the Stroman.