Skip

Strasburg Debuts Tonight
June 8, 2010 9:52 AM   Subscribe

He was previously introduced to the blue a year ago wherein he was heralded as the most incredible pitching prospect of all time. A year later, almost on cue, Stephen Strasburg makes his MLB debut tonight in Washington DC amid much fanfare.

Stephen has been been absolutely lighting it up in the minors.

Of course, the cycle goes ever on, as in yesterday's draft The Nationals selected the 17 year old hitting phenom and rare skilled catcher, Bryce Harper.

Strasburg Harper Pitcher/Catcher combo? John Wall to be drafted #1 overall by the wizards? McNabb re-injecting life into the Redskins?

... Anyone else interested in in moving to DC?
posted by Lacking Subtlety (64 comments total)

 
Not to mention how he manipulates the laws of physics.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 9:55 AM on June 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


They're so excited around here that there's talk of renaming Strasburg, VA, in his honor.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:57 AM on June 8, 2010


I know someone who has tickets to the game. So jealous.
posted by gemmy at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2010


The DC team? Fuck them. Those greedheads stole our team.
posted by docgonzo at 9:59 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Harper's not gonna play catcher. They've already said they're moving him to the outfield so he can focus on hitting.
posted by gnutron at 10:00 AM on June 8, 2010


The Nats are saying that Harper's an OF, at least for now.
posted by Mister_A at 10:00 AM on June 8, 2010


Anyone know if this is watchable on basic Comcast in the bay area?
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:05 AM on June 8, 2010


There was talk last year of him skipping the minors; anyone know why he didn't?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:07 AM on June 8, 2010


The most interesting thing may be how he looks next year. Young pitchers can often dazzle initially, before the players get a sense of their motion and stuff.

I still hope he does well, because I've always liked the Nationals (including when they were the Montreal Expos, docgonzo) nd think they deserve a chance to emerge from their perpetual cellar spot.
posted by bearwife at 10:08 AM on June 8, 2010


There was talk last year of him skipping the minors; anyone know why he didn't?

Mainly to push back Strasburg's contract arbitration eligibility by one year. Saves the Nats a ton of money. This does a halfway decent job of explaining the free agency/arbitration situation of his contract (short answer: calling him up to the Majors after June 1st effectively saves the Nats a buttload of money).
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 10:15 AM on June 8, 2010


Harper's not gonna play catcher. They've already said they're moving him to the outfield so he can focus on hitting.
posted by gnutron at 10:00 AM on June 8 [+] [!]

The Nats are saying that Harper's an OF, at least for now.
posted by Mister_A at 10:00 AM on June 8 [+] [!]


They're talking about it, but the discussion is already starting to swing back the other way, as just about everyone in the world is telling them their idiots for giving up on an all-star catcher. The value is just too high at that position.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:16 AM on June 8, 2010


There was talk last year of him skipping the minors; anyone know why he didn't?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:07 AM on June 8 [+] [!]


NolanRyanHatesMatches is dead on, and plus there's some historical precedence for "giving a young kid time to build." There's no doubt that Strasburg was ready to pitch immediately, but when you couple the arbitration issue with the whole not wanting to pressure him thing, then it just makes a lot of sense. But he ended up tearing through the minors so quickly there was really no choice but to bring him up. And June was always sort of the target date anyway.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:20 AM on June 8, 2010


I was at the Nats game last Saturday night, and people were definitely already wearing Strasburg jersies. I was surprised, since most of DC isn't exactly showing up in throngs to their games. They did apparently hit 33,000+ fans this weekend though so it's nice to see them generating some excitement. That's out of a 41,000 or so total, and an average attendance from last year of just over 22,000 (21,560 so far this year). Tonight looks to be a sellout, with some standing-room-only tickets being made available. Great news for the Nats.
posted by This Guy at 10:30 AM on June 8, 2010


Mainly to push back Strasburg's contract arbitration eligibility by one year

Exactly. I think there was also a lot of concern about throwing him to the wolves right out of the bag, given how weak the Nationals are this year in pitching, defense, and run support (specifically with RISP). I'm not expecting perfection from Strasburg tonight (or this season, really), but it would be nice to see him get his first win tonight. I just hope he doesn't fall apart like Mark Prior and Dwight Gooden (or *gulp* Ben MacDonald).

Living in the DC I watch about 150 Nationals games every and will go to about 25-30 games this year (including tonight's). For the past three years this team has been completely unwatchable, with very little hope for being anything other than a doormate for the other NL East teams. Yeah, they have Ryan Zimmerman and Drew Storen, but outside of those two, and Strasburg, the Nationals have had very little success from the drafts and farm system. Strasburg won't turn them into a contender overnight, but he will add a much needed dose of excitement to an otherwise boring and dismal franchise.

I usually don't buy into hype with draft picks or guys that are lights out in the minors, but I can't wait for tonight. After watching in misery as the Nationals looked like a sad group of AAAA (at best) bums for three years, tonight has me excited for the future of this franchise.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 10:31 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


They also wanted to give their minor league affiliates some revenue and to generate some buzz by letting him work his way up quickly (but not quicker than June 1st.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:32 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


They did apparently hit 33,000+ fans this weekend though so it's nice to see them generating some excitement

Yeah, me and my wife and a group of friends went to Friday's game (which was speculated to be Strasburg's first start) and the place was pretty packed. Of course, the speculation of him starting on 6.4 resulted in a ton of scalpers selling loads of tickets for less than a $1, but it was good to see a good turn out for once.

Tonight's game is a total sell-out, though there are still some folks with tickets on exchange sites asking ridiculous prices. What I'm most interested in is what happens at Strasburg's second home start of the season. Will it be the usual 20K crowd or will people still flock to see him.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 10:35 AM on June 8, 2010


They did apparently hit 33,000+ fans this weekend though so it's nice to see them generating some excitement.

That's because a ton of people bought tickets to games hoping that it would be the series where Strasburg debuted (thoughts that weren't discouraged by the club, until real late). The 4th was almost sold out, thanks to this and ticket speculators...
posted by inigo2 at 10:36 AM on June 8, 2010


Steven Strasburg is Christmas morning.

I'll be watching this game on MLBtv tonight, even though my team is playing at the same time. One of the great things about baseball is that, even if he does something ridiculous like throw a no-hitter or strike out 21 tonight, we'll still have no idea how good (or bad) he's going to be over the long haul.

He's pitching for a last place team. My hope is that the Nats keep him on a strict innings and pitch count. It will be fun to watch him this year, but it will be even more fun if he has a long and successful career.
posted by thebergfather at 10:40 AM on June 8, 2010


Pffft. Everyone knows this guy was the most incredible pitching prospect of all time.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:40 AM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I root for the Orioles, I went through this last year with Matt Wieters, and I congratulate Nats fans on their exciting day and their inevitable slow, bitter disappointment.
posted by escabeche at 10:44 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Strasburg finished the 2009 season 13–1 with a 1.32 ERA, 59 hits allowed, 16 earned runs, 19 walks, and 195 strikeouts in 109 innings pitched.

Holy shit? Thanks for the alert -- I hope tonight's game is broadcast down here.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:47 AM on June 8, 2010


Steven Strasburg is Christmas morning....
posted by thebergfather at 10:40 AM on June 8 [+] [!]


Haha. Xmas morning.

Lots of people are making the necessary Mark Prior comparisons, which is totally justified. The thing I like to remind folks is that Prior still had one unreal season. You definitely hope for more out of the guy, but who knows... just right now I'm loving the unbelievable promise and hope of a guy who could be the next pedro martinez.

I don't know what a gift horse is but I still don't want to look it in the mouth.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:51 AM on June 8, 2010


The Card Cheat: "Pffft. Everyone knows this guy was the most incredible pitching prospect of all time."

That may be the most annoyingly written sports article I've ever read...

Although, to be honest, I only got 2 pages in before I gave up
posted by This Guy at 11:00 AM on June 8, 2010


I saw him pitch a couple of times here in Harrisburg when he was playing for the AA Senators this spring. The first time was his home opener here. After a 2 1/2-hour rain delay (extended a bit when all the lights went out in the stadium) he whiffed the first batter on three pitches. I think he threw 6 pitches total in the first inning. Unfortunately, when he came out to pitch the third the skies opened up and the game was delayed again. When it resumed the Senators had a new pitcher (but I was long gone and very wet). The next time I saw him he was actually kind of mediocre. They lifted him in the fourth or maybe fifth inning--and I couldn't help but think they didn't want an L on his record. But it was cool to see the young phe-nom pitch in our small (but beautifully renovated) ballpark.
posted by Man-Thing at 11:02 AM on June 8, 2010


Let's not overlook his .400 batting average and 1.000 fielding percentage. :)
posted by cl at 11:03 AM on June 8, 2010


The thing I like to remind folks is that Prior still had one unreal season.

I think the thing to learn about Prior is that talent alone has never sustained for very long. You've got to be:

- healthy (Prior's downfall);
- motivated to improve (Todd Van Poppel, who was once a phenom but had a poor work ethic);
- avoid getting caught up in non-baseball lifestyle (cough, Doc Gooden);
- mentally tough enough for pressures of baseball (Dontrelle Willis, not that he's at the same level);

I sincerely hope he has the health and desire of Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay because if he does, we're in for a special next 15-20 years with him, Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke and Ubaldo Jiminez throwing smoke.
posted by Hiker at 11:09 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone in the world is telling them their idiots for giving up on an all-star catcher. The value is just too high at that position.

People say this, and there's certainly more value in an All Star catcher than an outfielder, but the Nationals are not crazy, either. There's a lot of common sense the other way, both fiscally and baseball-wise.

He's probably going to sign a six or seven year deal right now. If he's a catcher it will take three or four years to get him ready for the big leagues (catchers need a LOT more development time.) If he plays any other (less demanding) position on the field, however, he can be with the Nationals a year or eighteen months from now. From the Nats perspective, that will save a fortune in money that would otherwise be 'wasted' on the highest paid minor leaguer in history, and also get him contributing to the ballclub sooner and for a longer time. From his perspective, it also starts his MLB career sooner and gives him a longer one, which really matters from a legacy standpoint.

Catchers also have shorter careers and are worn down by injury much sooner, leading to a move off-position anyway. Again, it's in both parties' interest to preserve his health and extend his career.

And, of course, the number one prospect in the Nationals system (until now) happens to be an elite hitting catcher, so they don't have a gaping need.

Third base or right field.
posted by rokusan at 11:26 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Paul Konerko, Jayson Werth, and Scott Hatteberg were all first round picks as nominal catchers, too, remember.
posted by rokusan at 11:27 AM on June 8, 2010


One rotator cuff tear and it's over. But I hope he's successful and that the Nats can build around him and have a team by the time he qualifies for free agency. I would hate to see the Yankees end up with him.
posted by Danf at 11:36 AM on June 8, 2010


Paul Konerko, Jayson Werth, and Scott Hatteberg were all first round picks as nominal catchers, too, remember.

Carlos Delgado came up as a catcher too, although I think he was signed straight from Puerto Rico rather than through the draft.
posted by GodricVT at 11:59 AM on June 8, 2010


Let's hope, after he loses the requisite 4-5mph on his fastball after a couple of seasons, that he's able to transition into more of a cerebral, control pitcher. If he does, you're looking at the next Greg Maddux. If he doesn't, you're looking at the next Mike Maddux.
posted by mark242 at 12:12 PM on June 8, 2010


We are, of course, very excited down here at SDSU.
posted by yiftach at 12:12 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let's hope, after he loses the requisite 4-5mph on his fastball after a couple of seasons, that he's able to transition into more of a cerebral, control pitcher. If he does, you're looking at the next Greg Maddux. If he doesn't, you're looking at the next Mike Maddux.
posted by mark242 at 12:12 PM on June 8 [+] [!]


The amazing thing is that he's already showing that control. It's the reason the hype is so big and people are comparing him to young roger/young pedro and not just another great prospect with good stuff (think King Felix, who took a few seasons to put his control together).

I look at Hiker's post and though it's waaaaaay too early to tell the only thing that could be a concern is health. He really seems to have his head screwed on right.

Damn I can't wait.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 12:18 PM on June 8, 2010


I would hate to see the Yankees end up with him.

Absolutely. They are the giant vacuum for all baseball talent, and the result is the perpetual Yankees presence in the post season. Enough with the Empire already -- a better distribution of baseball stars among teams would make for an infintely more exciting and balanced baseball season.
posted by bearwife at 12:21 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


docgonzo, if you are so upset about it you should make a time machine and go back to when Montreal had them and try to force people to actually give a crap about baseball up there.

As others have said Bryce Harper will not play catcher, and a big reason why is Derek Norris, incidentally the Nationals Minor Leaguer of the year last year. There is the potential for an exiting rotation in the Nationals organization at the moment, and with Jim Bowden gone it does feel like smart people are finally making decisions.

Also though post loses some points for not mentioning the most exciting #1 pick in DC.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:38 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also though post loses some points for not mentioning the most exciting #1 pick in DC.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:38 PM on June 8 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


Haha. I knew I was forgetting something. Believe me I loves watching me some Ovie.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 12:40 PM on June 8, 2010


I haven't been this excited about a pitching debut since Mike Leake!

I think he'll probably dust down into a Verlander-type. But his delivery is less complicated, so he might just be a real live giant of the game. On a bad team.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:52 PM on June 8, 2010


We are, of course, very excited down here at SDSU.

For a few seconds there I thought "nice try, but there's no way I'm clicking on THAT" before I realized it said "go aztecs"
posted by Challahtronix at 12:54 PM on June 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


f you are so upset about it you should make a time machine and go back to when Montreal had them and try to force people to actually give a crap about baseball up there.

Been to a Marlins game lately? You can get an entire section to yourself.
posted by rokusan at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2010


Those entire sections are left empty at the request of the Marlins' risk management people. They're concerned about fans getting injured when the Marlins soar.
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


To make the game even more interesting, I think the Pirates should be required to take back Matt Capps if they lose tonight.

/was at the game on Sunday and WTF
posted by jermsplan at 1:58 PM on June 8, 2010


This is going to be the most-watched Pirates game since Sid Bream lumbered around third.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:18 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


What can I say? I'm buying into the hype and I'm pumped. The Nats have been doin pretty decent this year...with Stas and Slugger boy next year, they might have somethin real going.
posted by saul wright at 2:57 PM on June 8, 2010


T-Minus 3 Minutes
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:57 PM on June 8, 2010


First pitch a ball. Let the reassessment begin!
posted by escabeche at 4:10 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute. Do you mean to say that a young star baseball prospect basically just popped out of nowhere to play for the Washington Senators Nationals, who are in desperate need of help (especially against the hated New York Yankees), and he starts tonight? For reals?

This calls for dancing baseball players!
posted by Asparagirl at 4:14 PM on June 8, 2010


First pitch a ball. Let the reassessment begin!
posted by escabeche at 4:10 PM on June 8 [+] [!]


No hit first inning capped by gnarly strikeout by slurve! Let the reassessment begin!
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:17 PM on June 8, 2010


Kid is good.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:55 PM on June 8, 2010


14 Ks in 7. Unreal.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:56 PM on June 8, 2010


Seven innings, 14 strikeouts (7 in a row). I know it's the Pirates, but that's twisted.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:56 PM on June 8, 2010


7 IP, 2 runs, 4 hits, 14 K's

The ERs were really just off one mistake pitch and it was pudge's fault on a bad pitch call (seriously don't call for his weakest pitch on a 3-2 count and a man on third) That being said...

Welcome to the big league kid. Stay healthy and it's going to be fun for all of us.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 6:03 PM on June 8, 2010


He struck out 6 in a row twice. The Pirates are pitiful but still...talk about living up to your hype.

His mechanics are effortless, which bodes well for his longevity.
posted by Hiker at 6:29 PM on June 8, 2010


One of the most impressive statistics from the night is that he struck out each Pirate at least once. He wasn't just picking on the three worst batters in the line up and it shows a pretty good mental understanding of the whole opposing line up (although some of that must be attributed to the catcher. I didn't watch; does anyone know if Strasburg was shaking off that many pitch calls?)
posted by Corduroy at 6:47 PM on June 8, 2010


HOLY SHIT
posted by saul wright at 7:55 PM on June 8, 2010


As a Nats fan, I am 100% woody at this point. As much as I like the Ks...no walks! On top of which he seems insanely together for 21. He already has that drawlin' Chuck Yeager, if-I-had-any-more-energy-I'd-say-aw-shucks kind of a thing. Seems like a natural.

Also, I saw something I'd never seen before, after the game. In the usually vile, partisan, macho, bile-spewing, chest-beating team fan forums tracking the game, fans from OTHER teams were dropping by to offer congratulations and respect. Sincerely. Even unto the Phillies fans. Weird sports fan activity. Downright genteel, which is usually not even in the same zip code as online fan behavior.
posted by umberto at 8:46 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was every bit as good, and possibly better than we were told he was going to be -- and that is saying something. Absolutely electric stuff.
posted by kosem at 8:50 PM on June 8, 2010


14K Highlight Reel

Gawd that was beautiful to watch. I can't wait to see him play live.
posted by yiftach at 12:00 AM on June 9, 2010


Can't wait to see him pitch against a baseball team.

Seriously, this kid is going to be fun to watch. Happy to see they pulled him in the 7th. Hope they continue to take care of his arm.
posted by notmydesk at 7:25 AM on June 9, 2010


Let's hope the Nats have managed to ditch the Expos curse when they moved to Washington... Otherwise if they do well at all we are going to lose another World Series to a strike. :)
posted by antifuse at 9:27 AM on June 9, 2010


"I didn't actually read the scouting report [on the Pirates hitters] because I didn't have time. I just threw whatever [catcher Pudge Rodriguez] called for and tried to hit his glove." -- Strasburg, postgame interview.

Imagine what he'll do when he actually prepares.
posted by rokusan at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2010


I recorded this game and watched some of the highlights. Damn that's good pitching.

Plus, for some strange reason I really like the Nationals, despite only having been in DC for one week as a kid on the standard-issue "see the Smithsonian & the Monuments" trip.
posted by chavenet at 3:39 PM on June 9, 2010


Relatedly: Yes, iCan.
posted by chavenet at 3:40 PM on June 9, 2010


Er, wrong thread. Sorry.
posted by chavenet at 3:42 PM on June 9, 2010


Plus, for some strange reason I really like the Nationals, despite only having been in DC for one week as a kid on the standard-issue "see the Smithsonian & the Monuments" trip.

It's cause you weren't here long enough to see the owners pull one of their shady tricks (pay for rent? Pshaw........)
posted by inigo2 at 4:14 AM on June 10, 2010


« Older Sometimes, I doubt our commitment to Sparkle...   |   Take my waste, please! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post