On June 8, the baseball world turned its collective attention to the debut of heralded pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg. No one can underestimate the quality of his talent, nor dismiss it.
His ability was apparent at every stage: from college ball through his short stint in the minor leagues following his draft selection in June of 2009. He features and commands four pitches. Many experienced Major League aces have, on average, only three.
Strasburg has demonstrated that he knows what to do in any given situation, be it changing speed, location, or use different pitches. More than that, he can execute what he wants to do. To that end, he is 2-1 in four starts with a 1.78 ERA.
Is Strasburg an All-Star?
The 2010 All-Star Game is July 13th and Baseball's best will be in attendance. The topic of debate is if Strasburg can make a legitimate case for himself to earn an All-Star nod. He has the numbers to suggest he can, but then he hasn't been around as long as all the other candidates have.
In my opinion, regardless of whatever numbers he posts in the handful of remaining starts that lead up to the All-Star Game, he should not be there. I don't care what numbers you post, one month of major league activity for any player cannot be enough to make you an All-Star.
People always talk about a certain player having "an All-Star year." That is not in reference to the numbers posted during that season. Yes, those numbers are important and they are typically the basis for voting, but what is overlooked in voting is Major League tenure. It is about the progress you have made over your extended career in the big leagues.
It is about a player's progression from one year to the next. If every player's All-Star nod were dependent on a time-frame of one month, then every player would be sending their best month's resume. A career .210 hitter would speak of the month when he hit .340 to make a case for an All-Star bid.
I am not disputing the numbers Strasburg is posting. But for him to even be in the conversation after a month of Major League work is ridiculous. Keep in mind that the Nationals scheduled him to debut against sub-.500 teams. In fact, ESPN projected his starts and revealed that his first four opposing teams were either hovering at, or below .500.
I believe that Strasburg will one day be an All-Star if he keeps up his dominance and talent. But you wouldn't put him on an All-Decade team if he had only played for two years. It's the same concept.
I understand the kind of following this kid brings. He has boosted attendance and overall interest in the game of baseball from casual fans. From a fiscal standpoint it makes sense for him to be there. From a winning standpoint, it might give the National League a better chance to win home-field advantage in the World Series.
From a much larger standpoint, considering all the other All-Star nominees and contenders that have put in much more time to up to this point, it makes sense that a players should have more of a resume before making an All-Star appearance.