Marcus Stroman’s bravado even higher with wine-balancing workout

PORT ST. LUCIE — If the Mets were to affix a “C” to Marcus Stroman’s jersey it wouldn’t be as the team captain, but to denote perhaps the most confident player in the organization.

During the course of a 10-minute gathering with reporters Thursday, the right-hander said he has the best core muscles and sinker in the league and he’s anxious to start dominating.

“I’m not scared of any moment,” Stroman said. “I fear nobody. I am excited to rock.”

After going 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts for the Mets following his acquisition from the Blue Jays at the trade deadline, Stroman is looking for a breakout in 2020. In a deep rotation that features lengthy Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the 5-foot-7 Stroman is trying to remind everyone he too can be a force.

The Mets acquired Stroman, who is entering his walk year, as an insurance policy against Zack Wheeler leaving after last season. And leave Wheeler did, accepting a five-year contract worth $118 million from the Phillies. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen chose to fill from the back of the rotation, adding veterans Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha.

Stroman’s best work for the Mets came in September, when he pitched to a 2.91 ERA over six starts after a rocky first month following the trade.

“I just think any time you are traded, first time for me it’s going to be a whirlwind, so just getting settled, getting in the routine of things just becomes a little off,” Stroman said. “Once I felt I settled in, I felt I was pretty good and I look to kind of carry last year over into this year.”

To improve his offseason workouts, Stroman hired Nikki Huffman, who formerly worked for the Blue Jays, as his personal trainer and strength coach. Stroman credits Huffman for improving the core strength he says is so central to his success. Stroman’s exercises include the “bear crawl,” during which he places a glass of wine on his back. Stroman, with his weight on his hands and feet, crawls without spilling the wine.

“My biggest thing I preach when pitching is core-strength stability, flexibility and mobility, so the bear crawl is kind of the highest level, being able to do that with a wine glass of stability,” Stroman said. “That is something I am always focusing on. … I think I have the best core in the league. I put a lot of work in that, so I am extremely stable.”

Stroman struck out 159 batters over 184 ¹/₃ innings last season and wants that total to increase.

“I could punch guys out more. I also have the best sinker in the league, so I can keep the ball on the ground with the best of them as well,” he said. “It’s just a balance of what I want to do. I think I am going to have the ability to do both this year: Keep the ball on the ground and also raise my strikeouts, which will be pretty hard to do, but as long as I keep the walks down, which is kind of my emphasis, I think I should roll.”

Stroman said a “calm mind” is the key to his success.

“I am very conscious and it’s something that I focus on, whether it be reading, whether it be meditating, whether it be finding whatever it is to kind of find my calm,” Stroman said. “I know that when I’m in a good place there mentally, I know I am pretty much unstoppable, so that is kind of the biggest thing I’m always focusing on.

“My confidence never wavers, ever. I think I’m the best on the field whenever I am out there always. That is the way I was raised by my father and that is how I’ll continue to be, so confidence stays the same no matter what.”

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