It didn't matter how high Marcus Stroman got drafted Monday night. The Patchogue-Medford High School alumni just wanted to be selected in the first round and it happened.
Stroman was selected 22nd overall by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2012 Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
"I'm ecstatic to get the opportunity to play pro ball," said the 5-9, 195-pound Duke University righthander. Stroman was at the home of his dad, Earl Stroman, in Medford with about 50 friends and family. "I was hoping to go in the first round. I just stayed positive and waited it out."
Many draft gurus believe Stroman could be the best pitcher in the draft and would have been a higher pick if he was taller. Several outlets had Stroman ranked in the top 12.
"I know I am his dad, but he should have gone higher," Earl said. "People always bring up his size. He's happy to go in the first round. He showed hard work pays off."
Baseball America's Jim Callis concurs with Earl. He went on a rant on MLB Network during the draft and was shocked that Stroman slipped so far. MLB.com's draft and prospect expert said Stroman could be the steal of the first round.
"It's something I have dealt with my entire life," Stroman said of his size. "I will continue to prove people wrong."
As a starting pitcher in his junior year at Duke this past season, Stroman (6-5) had a 2.39 ERA, walked 26 and struck out 136 in 98 innings. Stroman was drafted in the 18th round by the Nationals three years ago out of high school. He was voted Suffolk's top high school player in 2008.
Many scouts believe Stroman might be the first player from this draft to reach the majors as soon as this season. "That's the ultimate goal," said Stroman, who doesn't have a preference of starting or relieving. "That would be unreal. I just want to play."