1: The Washington Nationals are 25 games back in the NL East.
2: Stephen Strasburg could possibly be the best pitcher of All Time.
How are the two related? The Nationals have activated Strasburg, the 23 year old goatee’d phenom, and plan to start him tonight against the Dodgers. I’ve heard many opinions on the matter, including those who say the move is bad and those who say “why not”?
The average Major League pitcher should return from Tommy John surgery in 12 months. Strasburg is exactly 12 months and two days into his recovery. He has already gone six starts in the minor leagues, not to mention the fact that he struck out 29 and only walked 3 and surrendered three hits in his final two starts in AAA. Strasburg topped out at 99 mph on his fastball and also left countless minor leaguers baffled by his sharp curverball and overwhelming changeup. He was dealing.
What we saw from Strasburg in 2010 was legendary. His first start, a sellout at Nationals Park, he struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates and walked none- a Major League record. In his next start, he sat down 8 batters. The next? Ten. Again, an MLB record. His three best pitches, the fastball, the changeup, and the curveball, are amongst the league’s best already. The kid has three elite pitches. Most throwers only have one. All Stars have two. Strasburg has three. The last pitcher we saw with three deadly pitches? Probably Pedro Martinez. If you haven’t heard, he was pretty good.
The bottom line is that the Nationals have a gem in Strasburg, and need to do whatever they can to work in his best interest. He could end up winning several Cy Young awards if brought up properly. If the Nationals think giving him short, controlled major league assignments is the right way to go then they should pull the trigger. Obviously, he’s ready. Just ask any one of his minor league opponents.