Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | , , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Nationals have signed number one overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, according to a press release issued by the team moments ago.

According to multiple sources, the record-setting contract is a four-year deal worth $15.67 million.

Should the contract number be accurate, it eclipses the previous record amateur contract of Mark Prior by $5.17 million.

This represents the best evidence of the ownership group providing the baseball personnel the talent they need to change the culture of losing that has dominated this franchise for the last several years, after the surprise near-.500 finish in 2005.

Strasburg, a dominant right-handed starting pitcher from San Diego State University, was heralded as the "best prospect in the history of the draft" but many scouts and talent evaluators. He has a fastball that has touched triple digits, and routinely sits 94-97 MPH.

He has an exceptional slider, and a change-up that one talent evaluator described as "too good to use on college hitters," indicating that the lower lever hitters were so late on his fastball that they would connect with the change.

His "makeup" and control have been praised as much as natural ability, from scouts to his college coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

It's a huge step toward respectability for this organization, which has had a year of seemingly endless embarrassment.

Much more tomorrow, including the press conference and further detail about the contract.

NOTES: The Nats also announced the signing of 12th round pick Nathan Karns, a RHP from Texas Tech.