Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stephen Strasburg

So, a couple of weeks ago I posted a poll about Stephen Strasburg that you guys participated in, and the majority of you seemed to think he was overrated, and I agreed, stating that he would be a major league contributor very soon, but also feeling he would not be as overpowering as many had projected.

If his first two starts are any indication, he is going to be overpowering. In 12.1 innings, Strasburg has struck out 22 batters and walked only 5 (although those 5 were all in today's start). While walking 5 in 12.1 innings is not an impressive start, a 22-5 K/BB ratio is fairly impressive.

It should be noted that the two offenses that Strasburg has faced, the Pirates and the Indians, are rather anemic, and near the bottom of their respective leagues in Runs Scored, and this could have something to do with his fast start. However, the fact remains that the line-ups he has faced so far ar emost certainly an upgrade from the AA and AAA line-ups he was facing, and he is essentially continuing to do what he did in the minor leagues.

I still feel that Strasburg will likely hit a bump in the road at some point, and there's no way he maintains his incredibly low ERA or his enormous K/9 rate. However, I do think he will surpass the expectations that I originally set for him.

Part of the reason I feel this way is because he was able to excel in his first start under what was immense pressure. He gave the Nationals their first sell out in the regular season that wasn't Opening Day since like, the park opened. He also had everyone in sports media watching him, and his team giving him a nickname like "Jesus". Strasburg was able to tune all of this pressure out, and completely and utterly dominate the Pirates. Mentally, he is tough enough for the extremely mentally tough game of baseball, and if he has that to go with the pitches he has, he is going to be very hard to stop.

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