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Duke in the MLB: Stroman starts strong, Jarvis eyes minor league debut

Marcus Stroman has looked sharp in his first four starts of the season.
Marcus Stroman has looked sharp in his first four starts of the season.

With the professional season now in full swing, let's take a look at how former Blue Devils are faring in the MLB:

Marcus Stroman, P, New York Mets

This series might as well be called the “Stroman weekly” given the pitcher's spectacular play, classy personality and the fact that he is the only Duke baseball product currently on a big-league roster. He began this season with a bang after sitting out the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, as his three straight quality starts have him sitting near the top of the rankings for wins with a 3-1 record. Granted, the season is still young, but Stroman has dominated opponents as a top-notch second man behind Jacob deGrom for the division-leading Mets.

As part of his eight-inning gem against the Rockies Sunday, Stroman made a wild play on a Josh Fuentes chopper hit up the middle—he made the stop by instinctively plunging his glove behind his back as he fell off the mound toward third base and proceeded to throw a weak seven-hopper over to a stretched-out Pete Alonso at first to retire Fuentes by a step. After one of the more impressive—yet bizarre—plays of the season so far, Stroman vocalized his intensity, pointing to the gold patch on his glove that he earned after winning the 2017 American League Gold Glove during his tenure with the Blue Jays. 

“You see that? That’s f***ing gold,” he yelled, seemingly in the direction of the Rockies’ dugout.

The "Stro Show" finished his week with a 2.25 ERA overall after a rough start against the Washington Nationals April 24—he gave up four earned runs and eight hits in four innings of the 7-1 loss. 

Bryce Jarvis, P, Arizona Diamondbacks organization

After Jarvis was selected 18th overall in the 2020 draft, he could only wait at home as the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to COVID-19. While rosters are not yet set for the 2021 season, which is slated to get underway the first week of May, the former Blue Devil ace is likely to begin his professional campaign with the Hillsboro Hops, the Diamondbacks’ Short Season Class A affiliate. 

Jarvis posted a 0.67 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 27 innings and tossed the program’s first-ever perfect game in his short final year at Duke.

Other recent Duke players to go pro

Following the canceled 2020 campaign, it remains relatively unknown where many minor leaguers are going to begin the upcoming season, leaving several former Duke players in a gray area when it comes to a professional baseball future. Nonetheless, a few former Duke players are making their way up the minor league ranks.

Griffin Conine, a centerpiece of the Blue Devil lineup from 2016 through 2018, has batted .266 with 29 home runs over 137 games in the Blue Jays system. The third baseman looks to continue his solid professional start with the Marlins’ Double-A squad, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

Bailey Clark, a former pitcher for the Blue Devils and 2016 fifth-rounder, will attempt to follow up a strong minor league start in the Cubs’ farm system with the Tennessee Smokies this season. He posted a 4.31 ERA in his Duke career but was impressive in his 2019 stint as a reliever, with a 3.68 ERA over 44 innings.

Graeme Stinson, older brother of current Duke pitcher Cooper Stinson, last played rookie ball for the Tampa Bay organization in 2019. He is slated to begin where he left off, representing the Blue Devils for the Gulf Coast League Rays. 


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