It didn't matter how high Marcus Stroman got drafted Monday night. The Patchogue-Medford High School alumnus just wanted to be picked in the first round, and it happened.
"I'm ecstatic to get the opportunity to play pro ball," the 5-9, 195-pound Duke University righthander said. He was at the home of his dad, Earl Stroman, in Medford with about 50 friends and family during the draft. "I was hoping to go in the first round. I just stayed positive and waited it out."
Many draft gurus believe Stroman might be the most talented pitcher in the draft and would have been chosen earlier if he were taller. Several outlets had Stroman ranked in the top 12, despite his size.
"I know I'm 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 said he was shocked that Stroman slipped so far. MLB.com's draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo said Stroman could be the steal of the first round.
"It's something I've 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 went 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA, walked 26 and struck out 136 in 98 innings. His repertoire includes a mid-90s fastball along with a slider, changeup and cutter.
He was drafted in the 18th round by the Nationals three years ago out of high school, but opted instead to attend college. He also was voted Suffolk's top high school baseball player in 2008.
Many scouts believe Stroman could be the first player from this draft to reach the majors, and as soon as this season. "That's the ultimate goal," said Stroman, who added that he doesn't have a preference between starting or relieving. "That would be unreal. I just want to play."