Friday, August 27, 2010

The Sky Fell: Stephen Strasburg Edition

It was fun while it lasted. The Washington Nationals ruined my morning by announcing The Phenom Stephen Strasburg has a "significant tear" in his ulnar collateral ligament which will likely send him to Doc Andrews for Tommy John surgery. This is easily the most disappointing news to come out of Washington D.C. since some political reference. I'm too distraught to even come up with a decent joke. Strasburg-Mania is likely to be shelved for 12-18 months after surgery and rehab. The good news is that he's still just 22-years-old and most pitchers come back almost as strong post TJ.

The bad news is the time that it takes to recover and return to effectiveness. Jordan Zimmermann made his first start last night for the Nats after a 399 day layoff from his Tommy John surgery. It wasn't pretty. He lasted 4 innings and surrendered 5 earned runs on 7 hits. Francisco Liriano had the surgery after the 2006 season and is just now returning to a resemblance of his former effectiveness. Josh Johnson might be the best case scenario for bandwagon jumping Nationals fans such as myself. Johnson went under the knife in August 2007 and returned to the mound in a speedy 11 months. In 47 starts between 2008-2009, he posted a 3.34 ERA and a 3.15 strikeout to walk ratio. This year, Johnson is having his best season with a 2.36 ERA which is right inline with his 2.53 FIP and he should contend for the NL Cy Young.

So is it reasonable to think Strasburg could be contending for the NL Cy Young by 2013 as a 25-year-old? I'd probably take that bet. His pure stuff is so devastating that if he only returns to live at 97 mph instead of 99, he will still make hitters looks foolish with his change up. But 2013 ain't next year and this is severely going to hurt his chase for Cy Young's win record and Nolan Ryan's strikeout record. I normally wouldn't care about such unlikely things except I'm such an impetuous gambler. My grandpa isn't going to be happy to learn I bet his house on Strasburg striking out 400 next season. Sure, I might have been caught up in the hype but I hedged my bet by taking the over 80 on Bryce Harper home runs next season. I'm not a fool.

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