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The Strasburg Question

This is what domination looks like:

Stephen “I will make you look silly” Strasburg just dominated another game in AA.  The Reading Phillies featured a group of guys with amazing baseball names including: Chance Chapman, Tuffy Gosewisch, Tagg Bozied, and Ozzie Chavez.  What they made up for in names, they lacked in the batter’s box.  Strasburg allowed just one hit (a single) in 5 innings this morning.

Final line 5 ip, 1 hit, 6 k’s 1 walk. no runs…unofficially, 67 pitches/48 strikes and leaves the game with the Senators winning 1-0. His ERA is now 0.73. His record is 2-0.

Here are his numbers so far in AA: 

12.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 17 K, 2 wins-0 losses, 0.73 ERA.

The obvious question is: how long can Strasburg stay in AA, or in the minors?  Is he even being challenged?  The word around Harrisburg today was Strasburg could do pretty much anything he wanted on the mound.  He made AA hitters look silly.  He lowered confidence levels, he made guys’ knees buckle, he made people smirk in disbelief.  His fastball peaked at 98 and never went below 95.  

He was told he could throw 85 pitches or 5 innings, whichever came first.  Strasburg likes to work quickly.  He needed less than 70 pitches to make his way through 5 innings.  Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post seemed bored and summarized his 4th inning with these words:  “Ho-hum, another 1-2-3 inning.”

I remember when Ben MacDonald dominated the minor leagues.  He also dominated the major leagues for his first 5 starts.  Things went sour when he faced some challenges and lost confidence.  

Has Strasburg faced ANY challenges?  Is it possible he won’t face any substantial challenges until he pitches in “the show?”

Strasburg’s next outing is on Monday, April 26 in Reading.  After that, even Rizzo doesn’t know.  It’s possible Strasburg will make his way to Syracuse en route to Washington, D.C.  Experts and analysts predict a June 4-7th debut against the Cincinnati Reds at home.  

Can Strasburg be contained for that long?  Should he be?  What happens if the Nats stay at .500 for a few more weeks?  Will Strasburg solve a major piece of the starting rotation puzzle?

Regardless of what happens in the next few months, Strasburg has excited the baseball world.  I cannot wait to see this kid pitch on the big stage.  I have a feeling he’s chomping at the bit.  I have a feeling we’re about to see something special.

After his next start, where should Strasburg go?



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