Wake and bake! Early game today fellers. A pair of minor leaguers have been called up to start today's game. Aaron Brooks goes for the Royals to start in Yordano Ventura's place. He gave up six runs in two innings of mop-up duty earlier this year, and had a 3.12 ERA in 40.1 innings with 24 strikeouts and 8 walks for AAA Omaha. The 24-year old right-hander was originally a 9th round pick by the Royals in the 2011 draft out of Cal-State Bernadino. In 433 minor leauge innings, he struck out 6.8 per nine innings, while walking just 1.3 with a 4.34 ERA. Brooks throws in the low 90s with a two-seam fastball. He relies on throwing strikes to induce groundballs, and will struggle to put hitters away.
The Jays counter with Marcus Stroman, who was called up to give Drew Hutchison extra rest. Stroman is considered the Jays top prospect, and was ranked as the 27th best prospect in baseball before the year by Baseball America. Stroman was a first-round pick out of Duke University in 2012, and has struck out a fantastic 197 hitters in 166.2 minor league innings, with a walk rate of just 2.4 per nine innings. The diminutive right-hander stands at just 5'9'', so there have been concerns about his stamina. He throws a fastball in the 92-95 mph range with good movement, a plus slider, and a workable cutter and changeup.
But has he ever faced a Dale Sveum-coached team? I think not. The Royals have a great opportunity to steal a series here. The key today will probably be getting into the Jays pen, which appears to be down to six pitchers, although they should all be fresh for today's game.