It's hard to imagine a player who has yet to play an actual MLB game as a pro, but has already been touted as one of the best pitchers to ever hold a baseball. For 22-year-old Stephen Strasburg, it's absolutely the case.
Strasburg was the number one pick overall in last years MLB draft, signing his name and his arm over to the Washington Nationals
. Stephen's price tag? $15.1 million, one of the most lucrative MLB draft deals in baseball history. Washington
quickly plucked Strasburg out of his San Diego
home, and placed him directly on the MLB fast path.
Let's quickly review a few basics to help you better understand why this is all such a big deal. Unlike the NFL, when a player is drafted into the MLB they play (typically) several years for the franchise farm team. A farm team is a club set up to provide players training and relevant experience before they head to a higher level of ball.
Think of it like an prep SAT classes, prior to the big test. It's an opportunity to break down the basics. The farm team is set up within a team's minor league infrastructure. The minor league system begins at it's first and lowest stage (R) to it's highest level before MLB debut (AAA).
Players often spend years playing minor league ball, and more times then not, they'll never get the opportunity to actually wear a true MLB uniform.
For Strasburg, this scenario isn't so. Strasburg spent his fall playing in Arizona
for the Desert Dogs, and made his spring training debut pitching against the Detroit Tigers
. During spring training his fastball was clocked at no less then 96 miles per hour.
Strausburg began his AA career playing for the Harrisburg Senators, and came out swinging with vengeance. The Harisburg-Patriot-News proclaimed Strausburg was setting records, quoting "A record-setting sell out crowd of 7,895 was on hand to watch Strausburg."
Late April, another standout play. Strasburg allowed zero hits in five innings, with six punch outs. This game ended his AA stint.
Less then a week later, Strausburg was introduced to his new AAA team, the Syracuse Chiefs. Strausburg did not disappoint the New York fans. He pitched six innings of baseball, and allowed no hits, only walking a single player. All this accomplished, in just over six months. This was all the Nationals needed to see before making their decision, the time is now, time for the big leagues.
Stephen Strasburg will make his professional debut on June 4 against the Cincinnati Reds
at our Nation's capital. Washington Nationals are in desperate need of a good arm, with a season record thus far 23-22, it's time for Strasburg to shine, shine, shine.
Commentators and analysts are gushing, Stephen Strasburg could debut as the best pitcher in the league. With a curve ball that clocks at 81 miles per hour. His greatness only has one direction to go...up! The next Sandy Kofax? No, he could be even better then that.
Let's meet our future hall-of-famer...
Stephen Strasburg: Washington Nationals No. 37
Birthday: July 20, 1988 (22 years old)
Birth Place: San Diego, CA
College: San Diego State University
College Career: Strasburg went 8–3, with a 1.57 era (earned run average), he had 133 strike outs, and pitched 97 1/3 innings total
Draft: 2009, Washington Nationals, first round, first pick
Special Note: Played for the 2008 Men's Olympic baseball team in Beijing (only college player selected)
Fun Fact: Strausburg was given the name "Jesus" by a team mate while at Spring Training this year!
This cutie will lament a name for himself for years to come. He spells out American patriotism... pardon the National's pun!
Impress the fabulous baseball fans in your life, and throw it out there... know your trivia! Stephen Strasburg is going to be the player who will change the way baseball is played, perhaps forever.