Last night, righhander Marcus Stroman showed that he may not be as close to major league readiness as had been originally thought, while lefthander Daniel Norris demonstrated that he may be closer.
Duke grad Stroman, the Jays 1st pick in the 2012 draft, missed 50 games last year and this for a positive PED test. After a pair of promising relief outings for the Jays at the end of spring training, and a pair of impressive starts coming off his suspension for AA New Hampshire, Stroman was hit early and often by Portland last night, giving up 7 earned runs on 8 hits, while walking one and striking out 2 in just an inning in taking the loss. For the season with the Fisher Cats, Stroman is 1-1, with an 8.10 ERA bloated by last night's shellacking. After the recall of Chad Jenkins and Sean Nolin by the parent club, some thought Stroman might be next to get the call. This start likely shows that he still needs to gain some experience and arm strength that will come with further seasoning at AA.
Norris, the Jays 2nd pick in 2011, had well-documented struggles in his first pro season last year, and through his first several starts with Low A Lansing this season. Over his past 4 starts for the Lugnuts, however, his stuff has been electric. Last night against Fort Wayne, Norris gave up just a run on 4 hits over 4 innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, while recording 6K's before reaching his pitch limit. Over his past 4 starts, Norris is 0-1 with a 1.13 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. In 37 innings this season, Norris has struck out 43, and last night's start lowered his ERA to 5.79. Norris may be farther away from the bigs than Stroman is, but his performance this past month has shown glimpses of his vast potential.