Let's not anoint Stephen Strasburg the next Mark Prior yet. There's no need.
After the revelation that Strasburg needs Tommy John surgery, people are ready to compare him to busts just as quickly as they heaped praise upon him. When you are a pitcher of his magnitude, that is what happens.
Strasburg came into the major leagues with great fanfare. We all know that. Of course, when you have all this hype, you have the burden of living up to it. And for a short time this summer, he did.
Minus just one shaky outing, Strasburg pitched like an ace.
But now this.
Quite possibly the three most-dreaded words in baseball: Tommy John surgery. It's like telling a singer they're getting their vocal chords restructured.
But now that everyone's had a few days to let this news settle in, a realization must be reached—it's not the end of the world for Strasburg and the Nationals. Yet. We won't really know for sure for at least a year.
As someone who's been around both Syracuse and Washington when Strasburg was in town, I can attest that the media treats him like he's the most important news in town. If he skipped a breath, it could make the front page of the paper.
So he will be closely followed; that's an understatement.
But one thing that people aren't thinking about is the fact that after all of this Strasburg hype, we won't get to see him pitch for a year. That's a long time.
Let's think about Strasburg the person. He can't do his job for one year. A year is a long time. Sure, a year from now, we'll be looking back and thinking it went by quick. But it is 364 days. And he could be out for longer.
Luckily for the Nationals, they have another kid to put their spotlight and focus their marketing campaigns on—Bryce Harper. All 17 years of him.
You think Strasburg received a lot of hype? Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated long before Strasburg was declared a "national treasure."
For the sake of baseball and the Nats, let's hope that Strasburg stays a national treasure and doesn't become buried treasure.
Because he is quite a talent. We know that. And hopefully, soon enough, he'll have an arm that can completely support that talent.
If not, I heard that Prior is working to make it back to the majors.