With the 2010 MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim right around the corner, a lot of the buzz is being centered around the games brightest young star, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. Just like every other hot topic in sports, everybody has an opinion on whether or not Strasburg should be named to the N.L. squad for this year's midsummer classic.
A good debate should have strong arguments for both sides, and this debate doesn't disappoint.
There are very good reasons for and against Strasburg making his first All-Star game just over a month after making his major league debut. Those in support argue that he is destined for greatness, and who wouldn't want to see a young phenom pitch against the likes of Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Vladimir Guerrero of the American League?
Then there are those who feel that, even though Strasburg has burst onto the scene and is likely going to be a special player, one month in the Big Leagues is not enough to earn a spot on an All-Star team.
Then there are those who agree with a little bit of both arguments. They say, this guy is dominant, he should be there, but yet if you put him on the team, you are taking away a spot from another pitcher who undoubtedly deserves to be there, especially since that other pitcher has been pitching well for three full months, rather than just one.
So how can we determine whether or not Strasburg should be named to the team? Well, in all honesty we do not have the power to determine such a thing, but let's at least compare him to someone who was in a similar situation a few years back. I believe the comparison of Dontrelle Willis in his rookie season and Strasburg in his, will give the best answer possible.
In 2003, Willis (a member of the Florida Marlins at the time) was called to the Big leagues on May 8 and made his debut on May 9. Despite being called up more than a month into the season, he was named to the N.L. All-Star team. Willis made 12 starts before the break, and had a record of 8-1, with an ERA of 1.98. In eight of those 12 starts, Willis gave up one run or fewer.
Strasburg made his debut a full month later (June 8) than Willis and will make only seven starts prior to the All-Star Game. Currently, through five big-league starts, the Nationals young hurler is 2-2. True, he does have an impressive ERA of 2.27 and mind-boggling strikeout numbers (48 K's to only seven walks), but nonetheless it seems almost ridiculous to let a guy with seven total starts pitch in an All-Star game.
Even if Strasburg wins his next two starts in dominating fashion, and is 4-2 with an ERA under 2, it's not enough to be considered an All-Star. Mostly because he just doesn't have enough starts, but he also would be taking a spot away from a pitcher who has been pitching great for the entire season.
However, even after comparing Strasburg's first month to Willis's first two months, you can count me in the category of agreeing with both arguments. I'd love to see this kid face off against Alex Rodriguez, but I don't think he deserves it as much as someone that's been doing it for three months.
With just a couple weeks to go before the All-Star game, the debate will continue to rage on. Or perhaps there will be no debate at all. Every major league team is required to have one representative, and let's be honest; is there anyone else on the Washington Nationals that is deserving of being named an All-Star?
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