Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Dud or Stud?
Tonight Stephen Strasburg makes his major league debut with the Washington Nationals. Tonight is the night that he shows the entire league why he is the #1 pick last year and why he may be the future of not only the Nationals but also the face of the next young generation about to embark on the major leagues. But is tonight really a true test or is it rather a showcase of his abilities against a mediocre team that has minor league stats. The Pirates are tied for 29th in hits, runs, batting average and OBP. The team leader in homeruns only has eight and the highest batting average for the team is a shad over .300. They are starting Karstens tonight that has an era over 4.00 and has not shown quality starts in his last two outings. The other thing to examine in all this hype is whether he is truly a remarkable pitcher or just a soon to be dud. I witnessed him pitching in Harrisburg on one occasion and his velocity is remarkable and he hits his spots with strides. He carries himself very maturely on the mound and doesn't buy into all the hype surrounding him. He is very focused and talented for a 21 year old.....but is he going to be the next Ben McDonald, Mark Prior or Roger Clemens?
McDonald joined the Orioles' starting rotation in 1990, and in his first major league start on July 21, he threw a complete game shutout against the Chicago White Sox. At the end of the season, he finished eighth in Rookie of the Year voting, with the award going to catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr. McDonald would go on to spend seven seasons with the Orioles, before leaving as a free agent in 1996 to join the Milwaukee Brewers. He never led his league in a major category, but ranked among the top 10 at various times in categories such as complete games, wins, ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Overall record: 78-70. Never made the postseason. Conclusion:Dud.
Mark Prior was part of an elite 2001 draft class. Prior was highly regarded as a #1 but didn't want to play in Minnesota, so the twins drafted some guy named Joe Mauer and the Cubs drafted Prior #2 while the Texas Rangers drafted Mark Teixeira #3. It took Prior two years make his way up to the majors and when he did he recorded an 18-6 season and finished third in the CY Young Award voting. After that season, Prior went downhill. His career consisted of:
Strained hamstring while running the bases
Rest of season
Shoulder after on-field collision with former Atlanta Braves second baseman Marcus Giles.
Achilles tendon injury
Throwing elbow - comeback line drive off the bat of Brad Hawpe
Strained left oblique in batting practice
August 14, 2006
Spring Training 2007
Shoulder surgery recovery
A tear in the capsule of his pitching shoulder; shoulder surgery
Clemens was drafted 19th overall by the Boston Red Sox in 1983 and quickly rose through the minor league system, making his major league debut on May 15, 1984. In 1986, his 24 wins helped guide the Sox to a World Series berth and earned Clemens the American League MVP award for the regular season. He also won the first of his seven Cy Young Awards. Conclusion: Stud
I personally think that Strasburg came to the majors too early and that it will hurt his self esteem in the long run. My prediction is that he will win seven games this season and win twelve next season and then insist on being traded to a high caliber team like the A's or Sox's and this will platoon his career remarkably. Also he could blow out his arm during his first season too. Only time will tell.
*information from past players came from wikipedia.com