Sunday, April 11, 2010

I've Seen Enough: He's Ready

Stephen Strasburg blew away the Altoona Curve today, going five innings, allowing one earned run, and whiffing eight of the 22 batters he faced. Look at some of these at bats. When the ball is in the catcher's mitt and you still haven't even started your swing, just don't bother.

Not to pick on the Curve, but even for a Double-A team, they don't have much in the way of bats. Gorkys Hernandez and Josh Harrison were the only guys Strasburg faced today who made Pittsburgh's Baseball America top 30 prospects, at #10 and #29. So it's possible that Strasburg will get a little more tested as he works his way through the Eastern League.

But I doubt it. This kid isn't going to be tested till he's facing the Phillies in the Bank, and there will be days when they won't stand a chance either.

I usually like to keep a lid on the hype when it comes to prospects. It's just kind of unfair to ask them to come out and do what's never been done before.

But in this case, forget it. We've got one of the best pitchers on the planet. Give it another week or so and his free agent year will be delayed. That's enough. Making Strasburg blow away the likes of Shelby Ford till June to delay an arbitration year that we already bought out anyway is just absurd.

13 comments:

Souldrummer said...

You're not happier that this start occurred at AA than in the majors, though? He struggled in the first inning with command and settled down. Isn't it better to go through some of this hype and jitters stuff in Altoona than at Citizens Bank? I'm kind of okay with the wait 'til June stuff. Part of it is we kind of want to see what kind of tradable inventory we have at the major league level.

By the way, what's your take on this Corey Hart for Craig Stammen rumors? Heard that some Nationals scouts were at tonight's Brewers game FWIW.

Positively Half St. said...

Souldrummer-

Where did you see the Hart/Stammen rumors?

Mark said...

Just to piggyback on Souldrummer, the top headline yesterday evening was "Nats Strasburg Gives Up Run in Minor League Debut." They've since changed "Gives Up Run" to "Impressive," but I agree that there is an argument to be made for letting him adjust to this intense scrutiny on a smaller stage. It's just another kind of development he could use the minors for. Granted, that doesn't mean it will take until June, so I'm all for calling him up earlier.

Mark said...

Oops the headline was on SI.com

dale said...

Unless I am horribly mistaken Strassurg has had "intense scrutiny" for the last two years. He has handled pressure at each stage. The minor league starts are a shadow play. Financial reasons are keeping him in the minors at this time, let us not kid ourselves about this.

Blowing away minor leaguers is not going to make that much of a difference in his pitching abilities. Facing the Phillies (or watching Roy Halliday pitch to us) will be infinitely more useful in his development.

Mark said...

It was one start, and it was the second most impressive start by a big-time prospect yesterday. He's been in the spotlight, but not as a professional. It's not like his outing was unprecedented, I don't think a little patience is unwarranted.

John O'Connor said...

It's not just financial. By holding Starsburg down in the minors for another six weeks or so, the team not only allows him to adjust on a smaller stage, but extends its CONTROL for another year. Control is a different concept from financial considerations because there's no certainty you will be able to re-sign Strasburg when he is a free agent.

Boras guys usually test the market. Who knows how that will turn out.

Eric said...

John, I'm not sure of the exact dates, but - by keeping SS for another 2-3 weeks we keep him for the "extra" year, but he'll be a super-two and cost another $6M-$15M depending who you believe.

The "control" won't change as long as he's down enough to assure he isn't at 6 years of service time at the end of '15.

Do I have that right Steve?

Steven said...

Eric is right. It's like 12 days to push off FA, and till June 1-ish to push off the arb year. If he comes up between 2 weeks and June 1, he gets essentially 4 arb years.

BTW--I understand all the points being made, and it's not like keeping him down would be dumb like Riggleman sacrificing Nyjer Morgan in the 7th inning or a 1-run game. I just think once FA is pushed back that there's no reason to wait.

Section 222 said...

I agree with you Steven that the key thing is delaying free agency, not his arbitration year, although there's an argument to be made that the c. $18 million in to be saved in arbitration loot might help buy the right kind of backup players for 2014 and 2015 when hopefully we're really making a run a championship. But I'd rather bring him up after he's truly blown away the opposition in double and triple-A rather than just being impressive.

Just one example, sure three of the runs yesterday were unearned but he still gave up four runs. The botched double play kept the Curve alive in the fourth inning, but he gave up two hits after that (and didn't back up the throw home on the first one) which led to three runs scoring. He's got at least a little to learn, so let him do that in an atmosphere that's not as insane as it will be when he comes up to the show.

Anonymous said...

You have to trust the Rizzo process!

It took Rizzo until he was 60 to get a GM job, so he's gonna screw any punk kid who thinks he should be in the big leagues for as long as possible just for spite.

Apparently Strasburg still needs more seasoning, just like Rizzo. LOL!

P.S. Hey Mikey, how Boras' @$$ taste?

Sasskuash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sasskuash said...

I don't think the Nats should worry about the "Super Two" arbitration status. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if the Nats bring him up early, his "super two" year is 2012. He signed a 4 year MLB contract that runs through 2012 last August (it's 4 years because 2009 was the first year, and he was paid a pro-rated portion of a $1 mill salary). He is guaranteed to make $3mill in 2012 whether he is arbitration eligible or not. Then, in 2013, he enters the first year of "normal" arbitration regardless of his "super two" status, and that arbitration will use the $3 mill salary as the base line number for negotiations.

Again- I might have done my math wrong, so somebody please correct me if this is inaccurate.

The Nats SHOULD worry about pushing his free agency eligebility back a year to 2016, as has been mentioned. I think the post and the commenters are correct that this will be accomplished in a couple weeks (but I don't know the exact date).