I never quite expected it to be like this. While I was never one who wailed about the season being over when Stroman tore his ACL, I still didn't think I'd feel this heady with two weeks left in spring training.
For real, he's not coming back this season. There are hospital pictures. Pictures of Stroman in a cast.
Reading Stroman's motivational tweets about killing rehab is great.
Crushin' this rehab. Exciting things happening in the future as well. Never be one-dimensional. Every cloud has a silver lining!
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 25, 2015
The face you make when they tell you that you can shower today. No more baby wipes. Lol #ACLproblems pic.twitter.com/jqa2wLyCEy
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 23, 2015
I mean, Stroman tweets about how he can shower again, but not about the horror of cleaning by baby wipes. I wonder if Stroman really is this positive, but I also figure he isn't the type to use Twitter to reveal the depths of his despair.
Shower tomorrow. Crazy excited. Considering that showering is one of my favorite hobbies, the last few days were miserable. Lol #babywipes
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 22, 2015
When showering is one of your favourite hobbies...
This isn't going to simply be a recap of what Marcus Stroman has tweeted since he tore his ACL, as amazingly peppy as it has been. This is about the future. The pitching has been alarmingly on point.
Miguel Castro, a string bean who got braces when got his signing bonus, is shy and soft-spoken, with a vague idea about what he might mean to the Toronto Blue Jays. Castro also has a lot of swagger on the mound. Of course, if I had a high 90s fastball and a changeup to match, I'd have swagger, too. Roberto Osuna is a little shorter, but equally nasty on the mound. Somehow, these two friends who are barely 20 years old have become the story of the Jays spring. This with a guy who lives in a van down by the Walmart.
“I gave my mother a house,” he said. “I put my brothers and sister into school. I bought a rental house. And I invested. And I put some money aside for the future.”
“He’s a guy with excellent qualities,” Osuna said. “Quite a lot people don’t know that he’s a great person. They miss that. Everybody just focuses on what’s there, the baseball. But he’s a very happy person. He’s an excellent player. And an excellent person.”
Castro is listed as 190, which is skinny for one so tall. “I eat a lot but I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” he said softly.
It's called a fast metabolism. And I'll try not to hate you for it.
Russell Martin is also impressed.
“I think that they’re just both quality people, to begin with,” Martin said. “They’re pros. They go about their business the right way. They’re not overconfident. As good as they’re doing, they just seem to understand that it’s a process. And whether they have a great day or an OK day, they have the same demeanor. Even if they do well, they’re still hungry. They want to learn. They want to make sure that every time they go out there, they learn something. You just gotta love their attitudes, man.”
Speaking of the one who lives in a van down by the Walmart, media from all over North America can't get enough of Daniel Norris. Cathal Kelly's recent piece featured this bit of genius: "The 21-year-old pitcher has the dead-ahead, deep-blue gaze you associate with prophets coming out of deserts in epic films. Which he kind of is."
Norris pitched a minor masterpiece versus the Orioles earlier in the week: three hits, one run, no walks and seven strikeouts, featuring different changeups, one of which he didn't have a week ago.
“My whole career I’ve thrown a cut change and it’s played really well,” Norris said. “But we sat down and talked this week and [the coaches] were like, ‘There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that you’ve got to have something that kind of goes the other way.’ So we kind of messed around with something. They said, ‘It’s up to you if you want to try it.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, if it’s going to make me better, I’ll do it, sure. And it worked today.”
So wait. What the heck is a cut change? Is he cutting his changeup? The cutter's grip is off centre from a typical straight up four seam fastball grip, and the result is a slightly slower pitch that cuts towards the pitcher's glove side and out of the sweet spot of the hitter's bat. Mariano Rivera built his entire legend on being able to cut away from the sweet spot.
With the changeup, the pitcher throws the pitch like a fastball but removes the power finger (the middle one), slowing the pitch down. So is Norris changing up his cutter?
Norris: Van. Beard. Filth.