(Updated: 12:00 Noon, Sunday 2/8)
After reading Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's article entitled, "New Ace May Be In Play For Nats", (which features an interview with the projected #1 overall pick in the June 9th '09 MLB Amateur Draft, San Diego State Aztec's starter Stephen Strasburg), and coming across another article at Baseball America.com, by BA writer Kirk Kenney entitled, "Strasburg goes from undrafted to consensus top talent", I realized that I wasn't the only one completely fixated on the idea of the 6'4'', 220lb, 20-year-old, right-handed phenom out of San Diego, California, coming to the nation's capital. Strasburg is certain to be selected by the Washington Nationals with the #1 overall pick, after which they'll have to try to reach an agreement with the #1 pick and his agent, Scott "Maximum" Boras, for what figures to be, in the Post's Mr. Harlan's words, "one of the richest signing bonuses in amateur draft history, certainly more than $6 million."
(ed. note - "Before I go forward with the Strasburg talk, I just wanted to point to MyMLBDraft.com, where their recently completed, "2009 MLB Mock Draft" has the Nationals selecting Strasburg with the 1st pick and Oklahoma State left-hander Andy Oliver with the 10th (9Ath?) pick overall, which DC received as compensation for their inability to reach an agreement with DC's '08 1st Round pick Aaron Crow...Oh...and MyMLBDraft.com has Crow going 5th overall in the 1st Round of the '09 Draft this time around...TO THE ORIOLES!!! Interleague play is going to be fun in a few years...")
...Especially considering the potential rivalry. which has already had its first encounter and could blossom further, between Stephen Strasburg and the O's 21-year-old lefty Brian Matusz, who was selected 4th overall in '08 and signed by Baltimore, but only after being outpitched by Strasburg when the two met on February 2nd, 2008 with Strasburg's Aztecs beating Matusz's San Diego Torero's, (or Bullfighters!), 11-2 on the strength of Strasburg's 8.0 innings of work on the mound, in which he allowed 5 hits, 2 runs and 1 walk while striking out 7, to outduel Matusz, who only lasted 4.2 IP, over which he surrendered 8 hits, 6 runs and 4 walks while striking out 6...
Strasburg's performance against Matusz is pointed to by Baseball America.com's Kirk Kenney, when he lists the win along with Straburg's triple digit fastball, his impressive Olympic appearance and his 23 K game against Utah last season, as examples of how the SDS starter solidified his standing as the best prospect in baseball, prompting an enthusiastic DC GM Jim Bowden to state, (without a hint of hyperbole), in The Post's Mr. Harlan's story, that Strasburg is, "...as good a pitcher as we've seen in the draft in 10 or 15 years."
The Washington Post's Mr. Harlan takes a moment with Strasburg to sit down and watch the aforementioned 23 K performance against Utah, which the preternaturally gifted pitcher recalls with near complete accuracy, describing his history with one particular batter, (a player he had faced before, years earlier), and explaining his approach to the matchup:
"My freshman year, he ended up getting a game-winning single off me. I blew a save in the ninth inning because of this guy. So I was a little geared up for him. He's one of those guys where, typically, he'll just look for a fastball away and guide it. He's not trying to pull anything. This at-bat here, I go fastball in. Then I get him up and in, swinging. That was the pitch I got him with all game."
How about that confident, focused, aggressive Strasburg along with John Lannan, Collin Balester, ('07 1st pick) Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmermann in the Nationals' rotation in 2010? It could all be up to Scott "Maximum" Boras, who is referred to by Strasburg's mother, (as quoted in Mr. Harlan's article), as a "rottweiler", with Strasburg himself noting, "I know that when it comes down to it, he'll go out there and fight for me." Can the Nationals pull this off? Is the future for DC sooner than we think? Will The Washington Nationals Be Able To Sign A #1 Pick?
(ed. note - "Why not just watch this video one more time, eh...")