Aug 5, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons (5) talks with the media during batting practice before a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Sounds a little like the future ace was being called in to do some relief work, right?
Nope, it was the bottom of the 10th inning of a home game… the Blue Jays were batting.
So, what did Gibby want from Marcus Stroman?
He wanted a pinch-runner. Obviously.
Blue Jays fans watching on TV and following on the radio were united in a collective gasp. What the heck was John Gibbons thinking?! Why would he call on Marcus Stroman, his young star pitcher, as a pinch-runner?
Well, turns out the move was actually based in statistical evidence, not a blurry-eyed mistaken finger wag by the Blue Jays manager.
Why Have Marcus Stroman Pinch-run?
During Marcus Stroman’s college career at Duke, he demonstrated remarkable baserunning skill and speed for a pitching prospect. Between 2010 and 2012, Stroman stole 25 bases in 32 attempts. With a 78.1% success rate, Marcus Stroman actually demonstrated enough skill to warrant his pinch-runner status.
Aug 3, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) leaves the game during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Stroman was a forceout at second base as part of a double play (which he tried valiantly to break up) so this substitution didn’t factor into the decision.
What do you think, Blue Jays fans? Was this move worth the gamble for a win or was it crazy for Gibbons to risk an injury for this future star pitcher?