Monday, August 8, 2011

Strasburg Brings Back The Heat

I may have gotten a bit swept up in Strasburg-Mania last season. Can you really blame me though? The top prospect in baseball didn't disappoint after debuting with the Nationals at just 21-years-old. Stephen Strasburg threw 68 innings and registered a 2.91/2.08/2.04 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line. He routinely hit 100 mph and had a 12.18 K/9. So you shouldn't be too surprised that I tagged him in 29 posts. What can I say? I have a tendency to both buy and propagate prospect hype.

Strasburg's promising rookie season came to an abrupt and painful end though, like most of my relationships. On August 27, I had to write the post about Strasburg needing Tommy John surgery. I wrote that I thought Strasburg, like most Tommy John-ers, would return close to his pre-injury self but I worried about the velocity on his fastball a little.

Those worries were quashed after Strasburg made his first minor-league rehab start on Sunday. He hit 98 mph on his third pitch and threw 15 of his 31 pitches at least 97 mph. Strasburg said that he worked hard on his conditioning and is in a lot better shape...
“I think I’m definitely on the right path to throw 200-plus innings every year.”

Strasburg still has a ways to go, likely four more minor-league appearances before he reaches Washington. Part of his long road back is pitch selection, as Strasburg said he focused mainly on working his fastball in this game.

“I knew I wasn’t going to go out there and necessarily throw 100 every time, and I wasn’t going to go out and snap off breaking ball after breaking ball,” he said.
Strasburg won't turn 22-years-old until late this month so there's still hope he can break every pitching record imaginable. I may have made some hasty futures bets last year.

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