The arrival of Stephen Strasburg in the big leagues has to be one of the most anticipated stories of 2010.
The 21-year old phenom is cruising through the Minor Leagues with a 6-1 record, posting a god-like 0.89 ERA. With 49 strikeouts in 40.1 innings, Strasburg is the most dominating pitcher in the Minor Leagues.
He hasn't allowed a run yet in Triple AAA Syracuse and doesn't look like he is going to slow down any time soon.
Will Strasburg be answer to the Washington Nationals prayers? Or will he be just another draft bust?
Let's look at a few draft picks from the past who were in Strasburg's shoes.
In the past there have been plenty of over-hyped players that were rushed from the Minors to the big leagues.
Todd Van Poppel was one of the most hyped draft picks in the 1990 draft. Like Strasburg, he had a fastball that clocked in the upper 90's. However, he only made 32 starts in the Minors and was rushed throughout the system. He finished his career with a 40-52 record in the Major Leagues, never winning more than seven games in a season, posting a career 5.58 ERA.
Ben McDonald was a college star at Louisiana State University, the same way Strasburg was a star at San Diego State. McDonald never quite lived up to his full potential, posting a mediocre 78-70 career record with a decent 3.91 ERA. He was on the Disabled List six times and never pitched in the post-season.
Brien Taylor topped out at 100 mph. He didn't make it past Double-AA. Enough said.
All of the above were labeled "cant-miss prospects." These players proved that if a young player is rushed, then don't expect much out him in the long run.
For Strasburg, another added factor to the equation is having the pressure of being the No. 1 draft pick. What comes with being the No. 1 pick is the huge contracts.
Ben McDonald was given a record-setting salary for a draft pick, making $1.1 million.
Strasburg demolished any previous record signings when he signed a contract for $15.1 million.
With the enormous amount of pressure placed on Strasburg's shoulders so far, he has handled himself quite well. We are all hoping his success in the Minors translates into a successful Major League career but we have to remember that history often repeats itself if we don't make adjustments.
The Nationals have to watch Strasburg closely if they want him to ever live up to his full potential.
We are in an era where college stars are given the responsibility of saving the franchise that they are drafted to. They are suppose to impact the team in such a way that turns around their season and magically turn them into a winning franchise.
That isn't too much to ask for, is it? Not from a 21-year old pitcher making $15 million a year, right?
We'll have to wait and see if Strasburg rises above the pressure of being the number one pick and be the savior that the Nationals desperately need.
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