• No offense to the NCAA and Mountain West Conference, but I think it's safe to say that the competition the Washington Nationals' '09 No. 1 overall selection, right-handed starter Stephen Strasburg, faces tonight, will be the best he's seen as a pitcher. A quick look at the Scottsdale Scorpions' roster of Philadelphia's, Colorado's, San Francisco's, Arizona's, and Pittsburgh's top prospects reveals names like Buster Posey, (the Giants' 1st Round pick taken 5th overall in 2008, a 22-year-old catcher, who hit for a .326 AVG with a .428 OBP, 23 doubles, 13 HR's and 53 RBI's in 80 games with the Class-A Advanced San Jose Giants before jumping to Triple-A Fresno and posting a .321 AVG and a .391 OBP in 35 games over which he collected 8 more doubles, 5 more HR's and 22 RBI's), Jose Tabata, a 20-year-old outfielder, (and the 3rd best prospect in the NY Yankees' organization in 2008, who became the Pirates' 3rd best prospect in 2009 when he was traded to Pittsburgh in the deal that sent Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte to the Bronx), who hit over .300 with the Double-A Altoona curve before jumping to Triple-A Indianapolis, and Dominic Brown, a 21-year-old outfielder, (and the #1 overall prospect in the Phillies' organization according to Baseball America's 1/09 list, who was selected in the 20th Round of the '06 Draft out of high school in Georgia, and played his way up from the Gulf Coast League to Double-A Reading in '09, collecting 21 doubles, 14 HR's and 64 RBI's in 106 games total over which he hit .299 with a .377 OBP), ...and that's just prospects whose names I recognized in a quick scan of the Scorpions' roster...GO Stras GO!
• Follow the Game: Desert Dogs vs Scorpions On MLB.com's Gameday.
LINKS and Strasburg's '09 Stats After The JUMP:
TODAY'S STARTING PITCHER IS GOING TO STARE AT YOU NOW...
#37 / Pitcher / Washington Nationals
Jul 20, 1988
'09 Stats -
SDSU - (13-1, 1.32 ERA), 15 GS, 109.0 IP, 65 H, 17 R, 16 ER, 19 BB, 195 K's, .172 BAA, 11 WP, 3 HBP.
F.I.L. - (0-0, 3.60 ERA), 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K's.
AFL - 1st Start Tonight At 9:35 pm EST vs Scottsdale Scorpions.
Origin Story - Washington Nationals' 1st Round Pick, Taken with the 1st pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft after completing his junior year at San Diego State University.
"If it was Friday night at San Diego State this past college season, it was Stephen Strasburg night at Tony Gwynn Stadium -- standing-room-only crowds amid great anticipation and excitement."
"A lot of people don't know about this but his change-up, I think, is his second best pitch and he's rarely had to use it because he's got this 95 to 100 mph fastball. I've already told him and he knows that he's going to use that out here. He's stepped into a situation where these boys can hit. He's going to have to mix his pitches and he's not going to be able to just rely on the fastball. His breaking ball is also extremely good." - Desert Dogs' Pitching Coach - Paul Menhart (WAS)
• Last Night's Phoenix Desert Dogs' Win:
The Desert Dogs put up 9 runs last night in a 9-4 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions with both Daniel Espinosa, who started at short and right-hander Jeff Mandel, who threw a scoreless relief inning, seeing action from amongst the Nationals' prospects on the Phoenix roster. Espinosa started at short and finished the game 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI on a sac fly. Mandel threw a scoreless frame, giving up just a two-out infield single that deflected off the pitcher and eluded Espinosa.
Final Score - Desert Dogs 9, Scorpions 4 - MLB Gameday.