Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg's Last Minor League Start?

Asked by former DC GM Jim Bowden to describe Stephen Strasburg's stuff using the 20-80 scale scouts use during a recent interview on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio's "Inside Pitch" with Mr. Bowden and co-host Casey Stern, Syracuse Chiefs' Skipper Trent Jewett began to wax poetic on the repetoire the 21-year-old right-hander will soon bring to the mound in the nation's capital:

Trent Jewett: "Well, you know, all of it's going to be closer to 80 than it is anywhere else, and you say that and you like the guy and you want the guy to be good because he's in your organization, because you like the kid, but the fact is it's true. His four-seam fastball's in the upper-90's, he can pitch with his two-seamer exclusively if need be, it's in the mid-to-upper 90's, I would say it has 70 action on the two seamer, his four-seamer's as good as anybody's, his curve ball, not only from a shape standpoint and a strikeability standpoint, but his understanding of it, I mean, he throws strikes with it when he wants to, he throws balls with it when he wants to, his changeup is as good as anyone in the game, now his last outing he didn't have the late movement on the changeup that he's had the first three outings, but again, for a guy to understand the use of a changeup and what it's designed to do, not be afraid to throw something soft up there, it's been excellent, it's as good a changeup as I've seen. I know [Trevor] Hoffman had a(n) exceptional changeup, but this one has late movement to it, full arm action, great hand speed, just phenomenal, he shapes his breaking ball in two different directions, he can add and subtract from it, just a very mature package and blessed with a tremendous arm and a great feel."

Stephen Strasburg makes his 5th (and possibly last) Triple-A start at 7:00 pm EST tonight in Syracuse's Alliance Bank Stadium against the visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. In 4 starts and 23.1 IP since joining the Chiefs, the '09 no.1 overall pick's (3-0), having given up just 9 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned and 4 walks (1.5 BB/9) while recording 27 K's (10.4 K/9) and holding opponents to a .114 AVG while posting a 0.39 ERA and a 0.56 WHIP. In an interview with Syracuse Chiefs' radio announcer Jason Benetti during Stephen Strasburg's fourth start, Nats' team President Stan Kasten told Mr. Benetti that he'd, "...been around a lot of good pitchers in my life," but, Mr. Kasten says, "...I've never experienced this kind of attention, this kind of scrutiny for a pitcher," :

Stan Kasten: "It's unique, he's an interesting phenomenon, one that I haven't seen before, and everyone in Washington is buzzing about it and eagerly awaiting his arrival."

Back in the Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio interview, the former DC GM, Jim Bowden, who's stated recently that the Nationals could be competing in the NL East if they'd call Strasburg up and not worry about his Super-Two, attempts to call the Nationals on the fact that Strasburg's still in the minors by asking Mr. Jewett:

Jim Bowden: "So, Trent, is it safe to say that the real reason he's down in the minor leauges still is the fact that, look, we want to make to protect his Super Two year, we want to make sure he's not arbitration eligible and once we clear that, we're going to bring him to the big leagues, is that a fair assessment?"

Mr. Jewett tells Mr. Bowden that it's not his decision to make, he works with the players on his roster at Syracuse, everything else is someone else's job, but the current DC GM, Mike Rizzo, once again addressed the idea that everything the Nationals have done with their future ace has been motivated by monetary concerns in an article by Peter Gammons in the most recent edition of Baseball America's newsstand magazine entitled, "Patience oftern can be a virtue to development", wherein Mr. Rizzo once again explains the Nats' motivations:

"'It's not just about stuff or talent,' Rizzo said, 'It's about making sure each individual layer is prepared when he gets to the major leagues, prepared to stay here for a long time.'"

Whatever the motivation for the Nationals' decisions with Strasburg so far, the minor league stage of his development has nearly reached its end. Strasburg's fellow '09 1st Round pick, Drew Storen, told ESPN.com's Buster Olney yesterday in an article entitled, "Impaler Imitation", that he doesn't foresee Strasburg having any problems with the transition to the majors which Storen's made himself in the last two weeks: 

"'He has great stuff, plus-plus everything,' -- fastball, changeup, breaking ball --'...Even as he has moved up the ladder, he's been able to do what he wants.'"

The next step is now only days away...7:00 pm EST Tonight...Strasburg's last minor league start?

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