Duke in the MLB: Stroman sidelined, Jarvis and Mervis look to make October impact

Bryce Jarvis will look to make an impact for the Arizona Diamondbacks this October.
Bryce Jarvis will look to make an impact for the Arizona Diamondbacks this October.

As the MLB regular season comes to a close and October call-ups loom, the Blue Zone takes a look at some former Blue Devils poised to make an impact:

Marcus Stroman, P, Chicago Cubs

Earlier this season, former Duke captain Marcus Stroman was pitching his way into NL Cy Young contention, potentially giving the Blue Devils’ their first Cy Young Award winner. Unfortunately, Stroman’s month of July hindered his chances. Although the right-hander made his second career All-Star appearance, he otherwise pitched to a 9.11 ERA in 26.2 innings. 

After allowing six earned runs against the Cincinnati Reds in just three innings pitched July 31, Stroman was sidelined with hip inflammation. Placed on the 15-day IL and slated to return soon thereafter, Stroman was then diagnosed with a rib cartilage fracture, putting the remainder of his season in jeopardy. While the Cubs are firmly in the playoff race, Stroman’s return remains uncertain. Further, Stroman’s future with the organization also remains unclear, as he has a player option at the end of the season.

Bryce Jarvis, P, Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks' Triple-A affiliate)

The former Duke standout and 2020 first round draft pick made his MLB Debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks Aug. 15. Jarvis was coming off an impressive month of July, where he posted a 2.67 ERA through 27 innings with a 3-0 record for the AAA Reno Aces. He impressed in his Major League debut, going three innings in relief and allowing only one earned run. Though Jarvis was optioned back to Reno Sept. 7, he sported a 2.81 ERA through 16 MLB innings, allowing just nine hits and striking out seven. Jarvis may return to the majors towards the back-end of the season in the Arizona bullpen, as the Diamondbacks will need depth to maintain their playoff aspirations. Arizona is currently battling with San Francisco and Cincinnati for the third Wild Card spot, with all three teams within half of a game of each other.

Matt Mervis, 1B, Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs' Double-A affiliate)

Another Cubbie and former Duke captain made his debut this season May 5 with Chicago, recording his first hit and RBI that game. Though Mervis showed promise early on, he began struggling against Major League pitching. Appearing in 27 Major League games with 99 plate appearances, Mervis had a .167 batting average with an exorbitant 32% strikeout rate. He was optioned back to the AAA Iowa Cubs June 15, where he quickly began to show why he had been called up in the first place. 

During the month of June back in Iowa, Mervis batted .308 in 26 at-bats, striking out just four times. He continued his hot streak into July, batting .309 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. Mervis has since cooled down, but his AAA numbers on the year remain great, with a .285 batting average, 20 home runs and 72 RBIs. Should the Cubs make the playoffs — they are currently in the second Wild Card spot — Mervis is making his case to be a part of the postseason roster. Additionally, although he has a mutual option with the club, Chicago’s first baseman Cody Bellinger is currently not expected to be with the team next year. Therefore, Mervis could be the Cubs’ future first baseman. We have surely not seen the last of Matt Mervis on an MLB diamond.


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