Tagged: Stephen Strasburg

Prospect Call-Up Review

Well, Stephen Strasburg sure can pitch.

He passed his first test with flying colors.  Calcaterra comments on what’s in a debut.  However, his performance is comparable to the debuts of some guys whose company he may otherwise wish to avoid.  ‘Zounds!  Those lists give me the willies.  Hopefully we won’t see him lumped in with those names in the future (unless you just really hate the Nationals, which I can’t imagine: they’ve been so mediocre as to be completely inoffensive).
Apparently, Strasburgs 14 strikeouts in 94 pitches (sorry, I reported he threw 95 in a previous post) represents the lowest number of pitches used to strike out 14 batters since they began doing that counting. Wow.
Heck, Strasburg has turned a bunch of heads in the Big League ranks: Joe Girardi was asking reporters questions about the performance.   The Twins were apparently purchasing signed Strasburg jerseys.  Bob Feller was a wet blanket, a mode of behavior he seems stuck in.  (I’m glad Feller was such a stud in ’36, but after reading his comments about Jackie Robinson as well as about some other more modern baseball-related issues, I’m pretty much sick of the guy. Go back to Van Meter, Bob, or at least let that nasty wound under your nose heal up for good.)
Strasburg, however, wasn’t the only rookie doing cool Major League things for his team Tuesday night.
Mike Stanton, another super-stud prospect, played for the Marlins Tuesday night.  He had three hits against the Phillies.  Unfortunately, as a right fielder he didn’t pitch in relief as the Marlins’ bullpen gave up the lead late and Florida dropped the ballgame.  Tyler Tankersley, who did pitch in relief for the Marlins, “contributed” a WPA of -.505, -.500 of that coming on Ben Francisco’s 8th inning single which scored both Placido Polanco and Chase Utley and put the Phillies in front for good.
Mets’ rookie first baseman Ike Davis hit an absolute BOMB to end the Mets’ game with the Padres in spectacular fashion as he accumulated .367 WPA on the shot, which traveled 444 feet, according to Hit Tracker Online.
The Pirates, victimized by Strasburg’s debut Tuesday night, attempted some fair play turnabout by summoning two prospects, outfielder Jose Tabata and pitcher Brad Lincoln, from AAA to play on Wednesday night.  Well, things didn’t work out as well for the Pirates on Wednesday as they had for the Nationals on Tuesday, with Washington winning 7-5 and kind of abusing Lincoln, who was roughed up for seven earned runs in six innings pitched, surrendering seven hits and two walks.  Adam Dunn mashed a two-run bomb in Lincoln’s first inning.  
For his part, Tabata went 2 for 4 and drew a walk.  For the Pirates, his promotion improves their outfield defense, as they are able to move Jones to first, while Tabata plays left and Milledge moves to right.
With all these stud prospects getting promoted, and with Buster Posey coming up last week for the Giants, I just have one question: Where the heck is Carlos Santana?  No, not the guitar guy, the other one, the Indians’ catcher of the future, one of the pieces they acquired from the Red Sox in the Victor Martinez deal (another of those pieces, Justin Masterson pitched a two-hit shutout against the Sox today in the Indians’ 11-0 whitewashing of Boston.)  Dodgers in the Casey Blake deal.  Santana has been insane at AAA: .307/.440/.568 and a wOBA of .433 and 6 (six) stolen bases [!].  
Jeez, free Carlos Santana.  
Cleveland is playing Lou Marson (.249 wOBA) and Mike Redmond (.241 wOBA) over this guy?  
I used to think Mark Shapiro was bright–thanks to Terry Pluto–but this is making me reconsider.  I get that they’re traumatized by Grady Sizemore in two ways–(1) his season-ending injury and/or (b) his 2010 performance–but come on guys!  Get Carlos in the Show post-haste!  

Even if Santana’s wOBA declines by .100 points he still wouldn’t be much worse than the guys playing catcher for the Indians right now, and he’d be picking up valuable Major League experience.  I think he’d actually hit better than that.  And he’d be getting even better for next season, when even the Indians have a reason to think that their prospects might improve.

Strasburg’s Debut: An Observation and a Link Dump

Well, Strasburg has sure been impressive in his first seven innings.  He did surrender a 2-run home run to Delwyn Young, but he also struck out 14 (count ’em, fourteen!) over 7 IP, including striking out the side in his last inning of work.  He had 4 H allowed–none over his last three innings of work–and no walks.  

In a word: Impressive.  
He was touching 97-100 on the fastball, consistently at 97 and 98.  His changeup–changeup!–was in at 88-90, for goodness’ sake!  And what a curveball!  

Like I said: Most impressive.  95 pitches, 65 of them for strikes (so 68% for strikes vs. the Major League average of 58-60% strikes).  Most Impressive.
Jay Mariotti discusses how much pressure Strasburg faces from media scrutiny, asking that he be given some “room to breathe”:
Forgive me if I don’t envy the kid. When he pitches Tuesday evening in front of a rare home sellout crowd, it will be the most scrutinized debut in the sport’s history, given the intensity and magnitude of media in the 21st century. There have been ballyhooed breakout parties for pitching phenoms, from Mark Prior to Roger Clemens to David Clyde way back when, but no one has had to carry a larger burden for a franchise, a city and his own future. Basically, Strasburg is expected to kick-start and rescue a dead franchise, popularize baseball in D.C. and coax the man in the Oval Office to attend Nationals games, something President Obama has been reluctant to do in his Chicago White Sox cap and jacket. In due time, Strasburg will have help in the hype department from Bryce Harper, the No, 1 pick in Monday’s draft, who is projected as a prodigious slugger in Washington if he can overcome his immaturity and ample ego. For now, it’s all on Strasburg.

Can we give him some room to breathe and grow, please?
The Sporting News wonders if Strasburg is the next Mark Prior (Ye Baseball Gods Above!  I sure hope not: I want to see this guy pitch for a while!)
The Daily Pitch at USA Today kind of summarizes the baseball Zeitgeist without adding anything particularly unique (kind of like me and I work for free); oh fine: the post informs us that Nationals fans are lapping up tickets and merchandise:

A StubHub spokesman said the average ticket was selling for $67.

Based on advance sales of not only tickets
but Strasburg merchandise
, the good people of Washington are
obviously convinced that Strasburg is not a 21st century version of Pete Broberg or
David Clyde

The New York Times pitches in with another “Strasburg Era Begins” thing (I know, I know, puns are the lowest form of humor except when they’re not).  Author Tyler Kepner emphasizes Strasburg’s non-cockiness:
From a look at him in April, this much seems certain: Strasburg himself will be unimpressed. And that, as much as his physical tools, should give Nationals fans hope. By all accounts, Strasburg is a pitcher who is not easily satisfied.
And Dave Cameron writes about the rookie’s debut at FanGraphs.  For the record, Strasburg’s Game Score calculates out to 75.
Professional Nationals-watcher Mark Zuckerman is/was at the game and says that the stadium has been buzzing since mid-afternoon.
Oh, game over, Capps saves it, and the National win.  Strasburg gets a win in his Major League debut, putting on a pretty dominating performance.  Nice way to start your career, kid.

Strasburg Again Awesome; Likely to Reach the Show June 4th

Strasburg does it again at AAA, prompting Joe Posnanski to write:

There really isn’t much to add
to the
 Stephen Strasburg hype orchestra. He’s obviously too
good to be pitching in Triple A. Working for the Syracuse Chiefs against the
Rochester Red Wings on Wednesday night, he threw 6 1/3 more scoreless innings
(that’s 18 1/3 scoreless at Syracuse). He allowed three hits — only one of
which was well hit — and he struck out nine, and he hit 100 on the radar gun,
though it was his wiffleball change-up that left the sellout crowd in Rochester

Yeah. There’s nothing much to
add. He’s too good for this level. He might be too good for the next level too,
but we won’t begin to know that until June 4, when he should make his big
league debut for the Nationals at home against Cincinnati. That figures to be
the closest thing to a playoff baseball atmosphere they have felt in Washington
since the Senators of
 lost to the Giants in
the ’33 World Series.

Stephen Strasburg Again Untouchable at AAA

Washington Nationals top pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg went 6 innings in his second Triple-A start, and he did not allow a hit.

In his two starts at Triple-AAA the top overall pick in the 2009 draft has pitched 12 innings and has allowed only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 13.  So, his WHIP is 0.250, his ERA is 0.00, and his K/BB ratio is 6.5/1. 
At this point, I have only one question: How many more minor league starts will he get?  Does he even need any more “seasoning”?
You can find the Washington Post’s liveblog of Strasburg’s Wednesday night start right here.
“Hardball Talk” goes further than I do about his readiness for The Show:

There’s no doubt that he’s ready for big league competition, but the Nats will wait until early June to call him up, ensuring that he doesn’t reach Super Two status.