Did you watch Justin Verlander beat the New York Yankees the other day? If you did, you saw what an elite pitcher with a 99 mph fastball and a sick curve can do to a prolific lineup. At times he can make opposing batters look light little leaguers. Well that got me thinking about what Stephen Strasburg might turn into for the Washington Nationals.
Strasburg returned from his Tommy John surgery late this season and after a few rehab starts in the minors was called up in September. Though he only was on the mound for 24 innings, Strasburg exceeded all expectations with an ERA of just 1.50 with 24 strikeouts. In his last start, Strasburg showed the type of pitcher he can be by allowing just one hit and striking out 10 batters in a 6-inning dominating effort.
Guys like Lurch will say I’m putting too much pressure on Strasburg by comparing him to Verlander. That may be true. Verlander is a four time All-Star who’s already won 107 games in his career. Verlander has thrown two no-hitters. Verlander has averaged 246 innings pitched the last three seasons. Meanwhile Strasburg hasn’t even eclipsed 100 innings in his career. Still, Strasburg flashes that kind of potential and I can’t help but think optimistically about the future of the Washington Nationals.
Look, Strasburg could end up getting hurt again. There was a lot of talk about his “inverted W” delivery — I don’t know anything about that — but if he can stay healthy, I think he’ll be in the same league as Justin Verlander. And, IF Strasburg can live up to the potential, then the Nationals might just find themselves in the thick of the playoffs just like the Detroit Tigers. Now that will be fun. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.