The 5-foot-7 Stroman’s height is an important part of his story — and Yankee history.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Baltimore OriolesKim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The first time you watch Marcus Stroman pitch, there’s plenty to notice.

He has a compact, explosive pitching motion. His sinker has about four more inches of vertical movement than the average MLB sinker, so you’ll see a lot of groundballs coming off the bats of frustrated opponents. He commands the mound like a predator stalking his prey and never shies away from displays of emotion and competitiveness towards his opponents.

You might also notice that Stroman is one of the shortest pitchers in baseball.

Stroman is listed at 5-foot-7, just an inch taller than José Altuve. That’s almost unheard of for pitchers, especially in the modern era. There are 23 pitchers on the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Only four are under six feet tall. One, reliever Clayton Andrews, is actually an inch shorter than Stroman. Andrews wrested the crown of shortest MLB pitcher from his new teammate when he debuted with Milwaukee last season. The other two, Nestor Cortes and Jonathan Loáisiga, both stand 5-foot-11.

Conventional wisdom has long held that height is related to pitching performance. The theory holds that the taller a pitcher is, the higher his arm angle can be, and assuming his height is aligned with his wingspan, the closer to the batter he will be able to release the ball. There’s no arguing with those realities; Stroman’s extension, which measures how close a pitcher’s release point is to home plate, was in the sixth percentile last season.

But for every 6-foot-10 Randy Johnson and 6-foot-6 Roy Halladay, there’s also a 5-foot-11 Pedro Martínez finding ways to dominate despite a relatively diminutive stature. An excellent analytical deep dive from Glenn Greenberg found no statistically significant connection between height and either durability or performance.

Nonetheless, Stroman’s height has been centered in his narrative throughout his career. Much like with opposing batters, he has always faced questions about his height head-on. In 2019, Stroman founded the Height Doesn’t Measure Heart Foundation to create opportunities for children and young people. The foundation has a particular focus on instilling in the people it serves the belief that nothing can stop them from achieving their dreams, using the example of their famous founder’s height as a source of inspiration.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers play the first game of the MLB American League Division SeriesHeight Doesn’t Measure Heart (HDMH) has been integral to Stroman’s brand throughout his career Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

When Stroman debuts for the Yankees, he will look to join a short list of pitchers under 5-foot-10 have had success in the Bronx. Luis Arroyo (5-foot-8) was the Yankees’ first Puerto Rican player and one of their first great relievers, riding his signature screwball to a sixth-place MVP finish in 1961. He led MLB in appearances (65) and saves* (29) that year, going 15-5 with a 2.19 ERA, 169 ERA+, and 3.2 bWAR. He then pitched four innings in the 1961 World Series, earning the win in Game 3 with a scoreless, two-inning appearance in the 3-2 victory. Arroyo broke down after that magical season, only pitching 39.2 more innings with a 6.13 before retiring.

*The save would not become an official MLB statistic until 1969, though it was used informally in Arroyo’s time.

Bobby Shantz experienced the greatest success of his 16-year career in Philadelphia, where he won the MVP in 1952 with the A’s on the strength of a league-best 24 wins and 8.8 bWAR. The 5-foot-6 southpaw’s best season in New York was his first, as he led MLB in ERA (2.45) and ERA+ (148) in 173 innings in 1957, earning an All-Star berth and a single MVP vote. He also recorded a 3.36 ERA across 126 innings for the ‘58 World Series champions. An elite defender in his own right, Shantz won the Gold Glove in each of his four seasons in pinstripes, finishing with 6.3 bWAR as a Yankee.

At 98, Shantz is now baseball’s oldest living MVP and still makes the trip to Bobby Shantz Field at Pottstown High School in Pennsylvania each year to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at his alma mater, from which he graduated in 1943.

Pottstown native Bobby Shantz, the 1952 American League MVP for the Philadelphia Athletics, shakes hands with Pottstown baseball players after throwing the first pitch for a baseball game at Pottstown High School. Photo by Natalie Kolb 5/1/2017Shantz on “Bobby Shantz Day” at Pottstown High in 2017 Photo By Natalie Kolb/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Clark Griffith, who stood 5-foot-6, never actually pitched in the Bronx or for the Yankees. He joined the New York Highlanders as a player-manager in 1903 after 11 seasons mostly spent in Chicago establishing himself as one of the game’s premier pitchers. Twirling it at Hilltop Park in Washington Heights, Griffith went 14-11 with a 2.70 ERA and 115 ERA+ that season while managing the team to a winning record in their first year of operation (for more on that era of Highlanders baseball, check out Matt Ferenchick’s great article from last week).

Griffith remained at the helm for the Highlanders until 1908. He closed out his playing career in Washington with the Senators, where he also served as manager until securing a controlling stake in the organization in 1920. He was owner of the franchise until his death in 1955 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a pioneer of the game in 1946.

Whether Stroman will find success with the Yankees and join the ranks of these legends from generations past remains to be seen. What is clear from both Yankee history and his own track record is that, regardless of how often it’s brought up throughout the season, there’s no reason to think Stroman’s height will play a significant role in his performance on the field.