What really struck me is that he didn’t feel the slightest bit of pressure. He wasn’t worried he was going to let anyone down, in fact, after the game, he said he couldn’t recall much of what had happened. He just let his talent take it’s course and played. He’s quite a throwback in that regard.
His line speaks for itself, 7 innings pitched, 14 strikeouts, 2 Earned Runs, and 0 Walks. That has never been done in the history of the game! Closest I found was Sandy Koufax who in 1955 in his second start went complete game, 14 K’s. Strasburg struck out the last 7 hitters he faced, it was ridiculous and the stadium was going nuts. To put this in context, this was a Nationals/Pirates game in early June when both teams are under .500 and already out of playoff contention. I’ve never seen anything like it in my lifetime.
Now I wouldn’t go as far as Bob Costas, whom normally I like very much, calling for the Hall of Fame ballots already…
So now, we know he’s legit, he’s here to stay, he has a ton of talent, insane stuff, and he will sell out every stadium he visits.
A new debate started almost immediately after his record setting, how are the Nationals going save this kid. The first name that came to mind was Mark Fydrich.
Fydrich was a similar story. An absolute phenom. His 1976 season was remarkable. What was tragic was that was his only remarkable season. He started 29 games that year and threw complete games in 24 of them. In five of those complete games, he threw 10 innings or more five times. What’s worse, he did it on three days rest 13 times, and four days rest 8 times. He was undeniably used up in that season, absolutely no regard for his longevity. He was a star, he was a show, and he sold tickets by the truck load. The trouble wasn’t the innings pitched, he threw 250 innings that season, a fairly normal benchmark. But the frequency and length of his starts was just to much for the body to keep up with.
That will not happen to Strasburg. I don’t agree with giving him hard pitch count limits or being to conservative with him. Just give him his rest and don’t be negligible. If you take what he did last night, give you 7 innings and a quality start, and do that every 5th day, the normal pitching rotation, he’d give you 238 innings and 34 starts a year. That is more than reasonable by today’s standard.
Another fun thing to think about is if he could follow that line and remain healthy to think what he can do. I know he’s only had one start and it was against the Pirates, but let’s just play the “What If” game a moment, shall we?
If he gives you that effort each time out, he would be 34-0, with a 2.57 ERA and 476 strikeouts a season. Obviously that is fantasy, but remember, we’re just playing “What If”. He would have Nolan Ryan’s all-time strikeout record in 12 seasons. He would have Cy Young’s all-time win record in 15 seasons. Both records are considered untouchable, but anyway you cut it, that’s awesome to think about.
The kid is more than hype, he really is that talented. Most scouts when evaluating a pitching prospect are looking for a combination of average to good velocity and movement on the fastball, a “Big League” level out pitch of some type, meaning the majority of the time, Major League hitters will miss the pitch, and one average third pitch for the purpose of mixing up speed and look. Strasburg has three legitimate “out” pitches. He hit 98mph or above on 36 pitches last night. His curveball looks like it’s out of a cartoon, and his changeup is arguably his best pitch.
It’s going to be incredibly entertaining to watch him, baseball is aching for a young, hip, star that sells out stadiums by himself. Look no further Major League Baseball, you have one.
Strasburg is scheduled to start on Sunday at Cleveland.