The Salt City is buzzing with anticipation for the Syracuse Chiefs debut of stud pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg. The Gwinnet Braves will serve as the first AAA-level lineup to get a look at the right-handed flame thrower whom Washington Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan dubbed "Jesus" earlier this year in sprint training.
HOW LONG WILL HE GO?
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has stated that Strasburg will be limited to about 150 innings this season. He used up 22 of those innings in Double-A ball and will probably throw about 30 in Triple-A, as Rizzo has also stated he wants Strasburg to get 100 innings of big-league ball under his belt in 2010. That said, expect Strasburg to go between five and six innings tonight as averaged just a shade over five innings per start for Harrisburg.
WHAT MATCHUPS SHOULD WE CIRLCE?
Atlanta has a four-star prospect with Gwinnet right now by the name of Freddie Freeman. He bats left, so he should be a good test for Strasburg. To date, Freeman is hitting .284 with 12 extra-base hits. He hasn't quite developed the power you would expect from a 6-5, 225 pounder, but he has a good eye at the plate and can drive the ball into the gap (seven doubles in 27 games).
THE FORGOTTEN PROSPECT
With all the press surrounding the arrival of Strasburg, you don't hear the name Drew Storen all that much. Syracuse radio personality Brent Axe even referred to him as Drew Stanton today on his program. But no, the third-string QB for the Detroit Lions is not on the Chiefs roster. Drew Storen is, and he could be just as important to Washington's future as Strasburg.
Storen doesn't have the command that Strasburg possesses, and that's why he's in the bullpen. His fastball tops out in the mid-90's and has good movement. He also throws a sharp-breaking curveball that mixes nicely with his heater. The Nats are hoping that the former Stanford Cardinal (and 2007 draft pick of the New York Yankees) will be their closer in the near future.