Stroman, Sanchez should be in 2015 rotation

* They've shown plenty of talent down the stretch for the Toronto Blue Jays, and Bob Elliott says Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez should both be in Toronto's starting rotation when camp breaks in 2015. And Daniel Norris? He might not be far behind. ....  2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

The Boston Braves of old had Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain anchoring their rotation.

And as September days -- and post-season hopes -- dwindle down to a precious few, Your Toronto Blue Jays should have their own pair of S-Men in the rotation next spring in Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez.

Stroman takes a six-pitch arsenal to the mound Monday in his 19th start at Baltimore, while Sanchez, working out of the bullpen, is getting it done throwing 85% fastballs.

Comparisons to the 5-foot-9 Stroman vary from Tom Gordon to Ian Snell to Pedro Martinez.

"Gordon had a big-time 12-to-6 curve," one scout said. "I don't see Stroman as having the same type curve, Most guys who compare Stroman to Gordon are comparing them based on stature."

In 21 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros and White Sox, Gordon pitched 890 games, while Snell worked seven years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners making 136 starts.

Martinez pitched 18 seasons making 409 starts and winning three Cy Young awards, two with the Boston Red Sox and one with the Montreal Expos. He also wore Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies uniforms.

"Pedro is a good comparison," Jays pitching coach Pete Walker said. "I've never seen anyone like Marcus when it comes to spinning the ball. He's very rare, one of the best I've seen."

Stroman has thrown 1,825 pitches with the Jays: 46.5% are four-seam fastballs, 9.2% two-seamers, 16.1% cutters, 7.6% sliders, 13.8% curve balls and 6.6% are changeups, according to the FanGraphs web site.

(You can tell when a change is coming -- catcher Dioner Navarro takes off his mitt to flash five fingers and one thumb.)

Stroman has logged 1501/3 innings (1142/3 with the Jays, plus 352/3 at triple-A Buffalo). As a starter he's 9-5 with a 3.07 ERA, while in five relief appearances he had a 12.79 ERA. He has made three starts against Boston, two against the White Sox, Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.

He had one start against K.C., St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A's, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Houston, Detroit Tigers and the Cubs.

"Jason Frasor pitched in relief, but Marcus is like Jason the way he pounds down and away, gets wild swings," closer Casey Janssen said. Frasor pitched in more games than any Toronto pitcher.

We've heard the 6-foot-4 Sanchez compared to Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, Matt Cain, a young A.J. Burnett, and Kevin Brown.

Palmer won 268 games in his 19 years with the Baltimore Orioles and looks like he could still pitch, while Cain is a three-time all-star in his first 10 seasons with the San Francisco Giants and Burnett is in his 16th year having won 155 games.

Brown won 211 games with Texas, the Dodgers, Yankees, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres and Baltimore in 19 seasons and, says Walker, Sanchez "has similarities at 97-98 m.p.h."

Sanchez has worked 272/3 innings of relief with a 1.30 ERA, arriving with a loose cap of 30 innings left on his arm, after 1001/3 innings at Buffalo (six starts, two relief appearances) and double-A New Hampshire (14 starts).

"He's making the league look silly with one pitch," Janssen said after Sanchez worked two scoreless innings Friday. "He does have a great curve ball, I've seen it in the bullpen."

Sanchez has thrown 383 pitches since he arrived 85.4% are fastballs, 13.5% curve balls and 1.1% changeups. He retired Evan Longoria on a curve Friday.

It's difficult to compare Stroman and Sanchez heading into next season.

"Stoman is a starter that Toronto can pencil in right now, he's arrived," said an evaluator. "Sanchez? He could either be an elite closer or an elite starter. No one knows."

Stroman was drafted 22nd overall in 2012 from the Duke Blue Devils as compensation for the Jays not signing Tyler Beede. And he's the sixth from the class of 2012 to make the majors, led by Michael Wacha.

Drafted 34th overall in 2010 from Barstow High, Sanchez is one of 19 drafts from that class to make the majors led by Chris Sale, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Christian Yelich, Yasmani Grandal and Drew Pomeranz.

Both were selected by former scouting director Andrew Tinnish.

"You like Stroman, do you?" asked an opposing scout.


"Think Sanchez is good?"


"Wait 'til you see Daniel Norris -- and I don't mean in relief -- wait until you see him when he's into the regular rhythm of a starter.

"He might be better than either one."


BRIEFLY: Lefty James Paxton of Ladner, B.C., worked six innings Friday in the Seattle Mariners' 4-2 win over Oakland. He now has a 1.73 ERA after his first 14 starts. That's third-lowest ERA at the start of a career in the past 100 years. Steve Rogers, of the 1973 Expos, had a 1.13 ERA after the same number of starts, followed by Tiny Bonham of the 1940-41 Yankees (1.67) and ahead of Pittsburgh's Zach Duke (1.81) and Dodger Hideo Nomo (1.90) ... Not that there is any correlation between a won-loss record and prospects, but the eight Blue Jays affiliates (with three winning seasons) had a combined .493 winning percentage (412-424 record) ninth-best in the AL. The Rangers, with a .565 mark, (470-362) and the Arizona Diamondbacks at .564 (473-365) led each league.


Sportsnet catching Valerie and Ken Pompey in the seats at the Rogers Centre after their son, Mississauga outfielder Dalton Pompey, bounced out to knock in a run in his first major-league at-bat with papa Ken dabbing happy tears of pride from his right eye.


Who will be in the World Series this year?

"Probably the Washington Nationals," said one Blue Jay. And in the American League? "It's too early to say. You know ... we're not done yet,"

And Saturday's banner of the day: "So you're telling me there's a chance."