In Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin's article this morning entitled, "Stephen Strasburg era begins for Washington Nationals", on DC's '09 no. 1 overall pick, Stephen Strasburg, Mr. Sheinin predicts, as many have, that the right-handed flame-throwing former San Diego State University starter will begin his pro career in the Class-A Carolina League with the Potomac Nationals, "...where the weather is warmer in April than in Syracuse or Harrisburg (homes of the team's Class AAA and AA affiliates, respectively), and where Strasburg can continue to work with (Paul) Menhart, Potomac's pitching coach," who was Strasburg's coach on the Phoenix Desert Dogs when the 21-year-old right-hander threw in the Arizona Fall League. Mr. Steinberg believes fans in the nation's capital won't have to wait long to see Strasburg in action:
"Five starts at Potomac and, say, five more in Harrisburg would put Strasburg in Washington by June..."
"Five starts at Potomac and, say, five more in Harrisburg would put Strasburg in Washington by June..." Mr. Sheinin explains, which would, "...delay his reaching free agency until after 2016, as opposed to 2015 -- a justifiable line of reasoning, given the franchise's record-setting investment in him." Will the DC Faithful understand if the top ranked pitching prospect in baseball is forced to make a tour of the Nationals' minor league affiliates in order to ensure another season of control over the pitcher six seasons from now? Mr. Sheinin writes that the Nationals will not promote the triple-digit-throwing-fastballer-with-the-cartoon-curve-and-the-change-he-didn't-need-to-use-against-college-competition heavily in the nation's capital, but as the current Face of the Franchise™ points out in Mr. Sheinin's article, there's no denying the excitement Strasburg's generating, even amongst the Nationals themselves, as exemplified by Ryan Zimmerman, who spoke to Mr. Sheinin as he watched the top pick throw yesterday in Florida:
"I'm just curious. I've never seen him throw before...It's exciting. There's just a different kind of buzz here this year."
The Nationals don't need to hype Strasburg any more, it's already too late. Chicago Tribune writer Phil Rogers has Strasburg, who completed his final year at San Diego State University by tossing a no-hitter in his final home start and leading the Aztecs into the College World Series, ranked as the top prospect to watch in an article entitled, "Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg heads stellar rookie class", wherein Mr. Rogers writes that Strasburg is a "once-in-a-generation talent" who, "...throws a fastball that can reach triple digits and has such a good idea where it's going that he had 10 times as many strikeouts as walks last season at San Diego State."
(13-1) with a 1.32 ERA in 15 starts and 109.0 IP in which he K'd 195 (16.1 K/9) and walked just 19 (1.5 BB/9) as an Aztec in '09, Strasburg made good on all the hype he had generated before his final season at SDSU, and in spite of two setbacks in the AFL, Strasburg continued to impress in his first outings against high-level competition. Can Strasburg continue to live up to expectations, especially the kind espoused by baseball writers league-wide? Yahoo!Sports.com's Tim Brown begins an article entitled, "Spring-loaded National League storylines", by asking, "Ever see a franchise more in need of Stephen Strasburg? Other than the Pirates, I mean. (ed. note - "Take that Pirates fans!!!") Mr. Brown goes on to compare the impact Strasburg could have in DC to that which Tom Seaver had on the New York Mets who went from 61-101 in Seaver's rookie year in 1967 to 73-89 in his sophomore campaign in '68, to the World Series in 1969 and a miraculous World Championship. No pressure, Stras.