It seems like this day has taken forever to come. With all the hype at San Diego State, his performance at the Olympics in 2008, Steven Strasburg finally made his major league debut.
Like every 21-year-old making his debut, there were definitely some jitters on the mound to be expected. Strasburg fell behind in the count 2-0 against the first two hitters he faced. Fortunately for him those hitters were Austin Jackson and Clete Thomas who grounded out.
The second inning came and Strasburg appeared to settle down, striking out Miguel Cabrera with an amazing 98 MPH fastball after throwing two knee buckling curveballs to set up the pitch. Remember that because it’s going to be a trivia question someday and you’ll impress all your friends with that kind of knowledge.
I’m not going to go crazy over Steven Strasburg yet, just because he pitched two shutout innings in a spring training game. He did struggle with location throwing only 3 more strikes than balls, and only started 2 batters with first pitch strikes. Are the Nationals going to rush him through the minor leagues or even crazier put him in the starting rotation at the beginning of the season?
Since the beginning of the MLB draft there have been 10 pitchers that were thrown directly onto starting rosters without starting off in the minors. Those pitchers hold a combined record of 523-660. Mike Morgan leads that list with 141 wins , but is mostly known for giving up Mark McGwire’s 61st homer (another trivia question answer). I’m in no way comparing Strasburg to Mike Morgan, Jim Abbott or any of the other pitchers on that list. He is an amazing talent with skies the limit potential, but he still has a lot of work to do before becoming a dominating pitcher in the majors.
I’m really hoping that the Nationals decide to take their time with this guy, let him go down to Harrisburg or Syracuse at least until the roster expands to 40 men later in the year. I’m not just saying this because I want to see him in Rochester a few times or even bite the bullet and drive the hour to Syracuse, although that would be nice. The list of highly touted pitchers that have been rushed to the majors and failed is high, and hopefully the Nationals won’t add Strasburg to that list…… hopefully.