Should Nationals Fans Worry About Strasburg’s Shoulder?

Without Stephen Strasburg, there would be no optimism surrounding the Washington Nationals franchise. How many other pitchers can you remember that were somehow making a push to appear on an all-star roster following their first Major League start?  To date, it has seemed that if the Nationals had anything to worry about at all with their young phenom it’s that he may have tipped a few pitches at some point this season.  Prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Nationals fans were forced to take a collective gasp when Strasburg was scratched from his start with what’s being called an inflamed right shoulder.

Tests revealed that although there was soreness and inflammation in the shoulder, there was no structural damage.  That’s obviously tremendous news for the 22-year-old, but is the discomfort something fans and members of the Nationals organization should be worried about, or is it a way of making sure he stays under his innings cap while also finishing the season?

It’s no secret that Strasburg throws hard.  Check that.  For a starting pitcher, he throws tremendously hard.  While it’s exciting to watch, part of me always wants to cringe a little when I see a young pitcher throwing heat like Strasburg does.  You’re looking at a guy who is going to be leaned on to be one of the top starters in Major League Baseball for a long, long time.  Is it physically possible to throw that hard with pitches that break that sharply over such a long span?  I’m sure Mark Prior would be able to shed a bit of light on that subject, so it’s obviously understandable that Washington fans would become uneasy.

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MLB’s New Strasburg Ad Is Just Stupid

Oh, MLB. You never cease to amaze me. And you didn’t disappoint with your new ad featuring Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The new ad shows clips of MLB greats Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan. You know, three pitching legends. Then after we are graced with a glimpse into history, we see Strasburg standing on the mound. Um, what?

Check out the video of MLB’s Stephen Strasburg commercial courtesy of Capital City Goofballs via Deadspin:

The kid is a phenomenon. I’m not denying that. He is extremely talented and I’m not saying that he won’t, with time, rank among the big three. But he has only pitched seven games at the major league level. Are you telling me that he already a first ballot Hall of Fame candidate?  I told you a couple weeks ago why I didn’t think he deserved to make the All-Star Game (which thank goodness he didn’t), and I can tell you right now that he does not deserve this commercial.

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Stephen Strasburg Shouldn’t Make All-Star Team Yet

If you haven’t heard of Washington Nationals pitching phenomenon Stephen Strasburg by now, you must be living under a rock. The 21-year-old right hander has been amazing in his first five games, posting a 2.27 ERA with 48 strikeouts. Regardless, I don’t think he should be placed on the All-Star team just yet.

Strasburg no doubt has All-Star quality stuff, but by the break he will only have pitched around seven games. Is it really fair to send someone to the All-Star Game who wasn’t even a major leaguer the first two months of the season? I don’t think it is. Granted it wasn’t up to Strasburg that he started out in the minors, but he will only have been in the majors for just over a month when the break comes and it doesn’t sit right with me to send him to Anaheim.

Like I said, Strasburg is only 21; it’s not like this will be his one and only shot at reaching the game if he doesn’t go this year. He’s got youth and talent on his side and I just know that he will be sporting an All-Star jersey for years to come, but it just shouldn’t be this year. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the talent to be there — because he does — I just feel like he should have a few more games on his resume before he joins the ranks of the other All-Star players.

As long as he stays healthy and doesn’t go into a sophomore slump next year, I can see Strasburg starting the 2011 All-Star Game. But for this year, let’s leave it to the guys who have been around the bases a little longer.

Stephen Strasburg May Have Been Tipping Pitches

Former Dodgers Cy Young winner, current MLB analyst, and one-time LBS favorite player, Orel Hershiser, was one of the many national media members on hand in Washington D.C. to cover the MLB debut of Stephen Strasburg that surpassed all expectations. The ’88 World Series MVP joined Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio the next morning as a guest and was incredibly impressed with Strasburg. After lavishing heaps of praise upon Strasburg, Hershiser was asked if he saw anything of concern. Hershiser, a former pitching coach, did note that Strasburg may have been tipping pitches:

“I thought he might have been tipping his pitches on certain things. I had some pitches at times and actually relayed that and passed it on. I think that he will watch that as he goes. No hitter in their right mind will try and steal pitches off of him when he’s throwing 98 miles per hour unless they’re 100% sure. There were times when I gave away pitches I think in the ’97 World Series against the Marlins and got hit pretty good, and I know we had Doc Gooden’s pitches in the ’88 playoffs with the Mets but we didn’t get the two runs off him and beat him 2-1, so we knew it was coming but still it was almost impossible to hit. When a guy throws 98, you don’t want to ‘he did that and now it’s going to be a fastball’ or ‘he did that and now it’s going to be a curveball’ because he does the opposite and it’s going to kill you.”

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Stephen Strasburg Scouting Report

21-year-old pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg made his major league debut in front of a sold out Washington crowd Tuesday night and, as he has done again and again, managed to surpass every expectation that comes with being an historical talent. What can we possibly say about Stephen Strasburg that hasn’t already been said about previous hyped, top prospects with great potential?

Needing only 94 pitches, Strasburg made it through seven innings allowing four hits and two runs on a Delwyn Young home run. The fireballer struck out 14 batters without walking anyone and he retired the last ten batters he faced, striking out the last seven.

Drafted first overall by the Washington Nationals in the 2009 MLB amateur draft out of San Diego State and billed as one of the greatest amateur pitchers in draft history, the expectation was that Strasburg would move quickly through the minor leagues and make his debut before the 2010 All-Star break. He did just that, making 11 starts between Double and Triple-A, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.30 ERA, striking out 65, walking 13 in 55.1 IP (one home run allowed). Everyone who saw him pitch came away impressed. Curt Schilling proclaimed Strasburg would be one of the best pitchers in baseball immediately upon arrival and more than a few eyebrows were raised. We even noted how Strasburg would combine with Bryce Harper to form the new faces of the Nats’ franchise.

So what makes Strasburg such a widely-acclaimed talent?

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Harper, Strasburg Are The New Faces of the Washington Nationals

It’s no surprise that the Washington Nationals chose 17-year-old prodigy Bryce Harper with the first overall draft pick on Tuesday, but it was exciting to finally see it happen. Last year, the Nats chose pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the same pick and he’s already set to make his major league debut Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you’re a Nationals fan, you have a couple of legitimate reasons to be excited about the future. Heck, if you’re a Washington sports fan in general we gave you a list of reasons why you should be optimistic just a few weeks ago.

I think it’s awesome how Harper and Strasburg have yet to play a game for the Nats and they’re already becoming the faces of the franchise. The only concern could be that these two kids will have a lot of pressure looming over their heads. I’m personally not concerned because I believe this duo is phenomenal, but making the majors is something that every little league player dreams of. When it finally happens, there’s added pressure to be the best — especially when people are already calling you the best.

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Ryan Zimmerman: Strasburg’s Leverage Will Never be Higher

Notebook San Diego State Strasburg BaseballLast week we had a similar story where Vernon Davis was telling Michael Crabtree to take what he can get from the 49ers and get his butt into camp. I backed Crabtree in that case because football’s different from baseball — players generally are better when they’re younger because they’ve sustained less injuries. Couple that with the lack of guaranteed contracts and it’s enough reason try to get all the money you can. But when it comes to baseball draft picks signing, I have somewhat of a different perspective.

The showdown between Scott Boras’ client, number one overall pick Stephen Strasburg, and the Nats looks like it will come down to Monday’s midnight signing deadline. The Nats have gone on record saying they’ve given Strasburg a “record offer” which doesn’t mean much to me since the previous record given to Mark Prior is outdated. Given what highly regarded Boras pitchers have done lately (Jered Weaver, Rick Porcello), I don’t think a $15-20 million bonus would be out of line. Sure it would be a bad precedent to set for MLB, but if you’re the Nats you need this guy to turn the franchise around.

On a similar note, if you’re Strasburgh, you should be focused on getting good money and signing now in order to begin your career. Pitchers who refuse to sign and re-enter the draft the following year don’t have a great track record. Plus, as Ryan Zimmerman pointed out, Strasburg won’t ever have more leverage:

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