With each strikeout that Stephen Strasburg threw in his major league debut yesterday, Washington Nationals fans everywhere began to dream about what is to come for their relatively new major league franchise. Rightfully so, because last night will probably be seen as the starting point of a lot of special years for the Washington Nationals.
This franchise already has a ton of young talent. Obviously Stephen Strasburg is the main guy you can look at, but Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Ian Desmond, John Lannan and Ryan Zimmerman are all 25 years old or younger and are all having huge impacts on the team right now.
It's not as if the Nationals are the bottom feeders of the MLB anymore, either. Yes, they have fallen back into a tie for last place in the NL East, but they have a respectable 28-31 record and are only going to keep adding young talent through their impressive minor league system. This team is young right now, but it is also learning how to win.
The Nationals have a lot to look forward to with their young talent at the major league level right now, but they also have the ability to get younger with more graduating minor league talent. Players like Derek Norris (catcher at High-A), Chris Marrero (first baseman at Double-A) and Bryce Harper (No. 1 overall pick) should be up in the next few years to help this improving team.
The main thing that Stephen Strasburg is doing for the Washington Nationals (besides helping them win a lot more games) is creating a buzz around the team. A ton of people tuned in to watch a Washington Nationals-Pittsburgh Pirates game last night! Think about that for a second.
Imagine how much he will increase attendance and therefore revenue for the Nationals. The extra money he will make the team can be used by the front office for higher priced free agents in the coming years, which will only help their chances of making the playoffs in the NL.
The Nationals front office showed that they were willing to spend this off-season by signing Ivan Rodriguez, Matt Capps, Jason Marquis and Adam Kennedy in a year that looked like it wasn't going to be possible for them to compete. They are hovering around .500 right now and the only direction I see this team going is up.
Everyone will remember 2010 as the year the Nationals took that first step towards playoff baseball and everyone will remember June 8th, 2010 as the specific day where it was finally good to be a Nationals fan. Get ready for a lot more joy in the future, Nats fans.