While I have long been a fan of Marcus Stroman and the attention he has brought to vertically challenged pitchers, I think that the whole “hater complex” thing his fans have, and the underdog angle has been overplayed. Believe me, I understand the absurd bias that scouts and analysts seem to have against shorter pitchers when there is in fact nothing that inherently implies that shorter pitchers have less potential for velocity or success as a pitcher. It literally all comes down to the fact that there is a stigma that taller pitchers have more “potential” for some reason.
However, I would not say that in Stroman’s career, at any point, has he ever really been an underdog. Let’s start with the fact that he was drafted out of high school, in the 18th round by the Nationals. Thats not a favor pick in the 18th round. Then, he opted to go to Duke, and it’s not like he was a walk on. He was also a two-way player for Duke, making 97 appearances in the field as well as 48 pitching appearances over his 3 years. Then, in the 2012 draft he was selected 22nd overall. That is a mid-late first rounder. It is not often that first rounders are really considered “underdogs.” Sure, some people said he wouldn’t stick as a starter because he was short and has a max-effort motion. They say that about everyone with a max effort motion. They said that about Carson Fulmer in the 2015 draft.
Again I want to be clear that I’m not discounting Marcus Stroman or anything that he’s done. However, his prospects were not so bleak as some might make it seem. This leads me to my next point, Stroman’s catchphrase. HDMH.
It’s true, height does not measure heart. There is absolutely no correlation between the two. However, some people don’t seem to realize that this is a two-way street. It doesn’t mean that just because you’re a 5’10” pitcher that you automatically have more heart than your 6’6″ teammate who won the genetic lottery. You can be sub-6 feet tall and still have no heart, and you can be 7 feet tall and have a ton of heart. Don’t confuse the fact that one short guy with a lot of heart says it to mean that every short guy has more heart than everyone else.
My final point is that Marcus Stroman did in fact work his ass off to get where he is. He recovered from a torn ACL in an incredible amount of time, which I know from experience is not easy to do. He’s gotten everything he has because he’s worked for it. But that doesn’t mean that when someone criticizes him that they’re automatically a “hater.” And it doesn’t mean you have to get out your inspirational quotes and HDMH shields to hide behind.