Stephen Strasburg's Nationals Debut

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | , , | 2 comments »

Here's a real quick synopsis of Stephen Strasburg's spring training debut for the Washington Nationals.

The hard numbers: two innings pitched, 27 pitches, 15 strikes.  He gave up two hits, a soft liner the opposite way and a bouncing ground ball up the middle.  He struck out two batters and did not walk a batter.

He overthrew a couple fastballs to start off, which would not be unexpected.  But he sat 97, 98 MPH with the fastball, showed a 91 MPH changeup and an 81 MPH breaking ball.  He actually threw two different breaking balls, showing a big breaking slurvish pitch and a much tighter traditional slider that bent the knee of the Tigers batter called out looking.

Strasburg worked quickly, even with men on base, and looked like he was throwing easy after the first two pitches.  He seemed to open up his front shoulder once or twice, and catcher Wil Nieves gave him some prodding afte one pitch to keep his front shoulder in.

So, a strong debut overall for the wunderkind.  He definitely has major league quality pitches, and it's only a matter of time before he's in the rotation.  I'd still expect the team wait until his after the date when his arbitration eligibility would be delayed an extra season, meaning sometime around Memorial Day.

But it will be an exciting time when he does finally pitch in D.C.


  1. EdDC // March 9, 2010 at 2:11 PM  

    It is great to have a top pitcher in the system. The kid could be phenomenal.

    I have to admit that I was totally nuts to get a MLB team in DC. I would like to get that feeling back and SS helps. You look at what could have been possible. What if the Nats had gone over slot to get Crow--who also had a nice start for KC. What if they had gone over slot to get Rick Porcello, instead of drafting a slot guy (Detwiler). What if the sprang for Chapman (who also had a fabulous debut for Cincy).

    OK, they lost out on those. These things can be overcome. But at some point, they do need to extend themselves a little to build a full starting pitching staff.

  2. Dave Nichols // March 9, 2010 at 2:30 PM  

    Ed, you'll get no argument here. the Nats draft strategy, save for Strasburg, has always been signability over ability. it's frustrating as a fan, but the Lerners have been slow to understand that running a professional sports team is like running a public trust.