Stephen Strasburg: The Worst Injury in Major League Baseball

Victor PedroContributor IApril 7, 2011

Strasburg was money in the bank in 2010. Literally.
Strasburg was money in the bank in 2010. Literally.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When Stephen Strasburg was pulled from his start on August 21, the Nationals organization immediately knew it was a huge loss, competitively and financially.

Widely considered the "most-hyped draft pick in draft history," Strasburg was supposed to be the savior for the Nationals for years to come.

When he made his debut in June, every sign pointed to that notion becoming reality.

The game against the Pirates on June 8 drew 18,000 more fans than average, average ticket price was up 100 percent and Strasburg threw a stellar game, striking out 14 batters.

But after two months of dominance, Strasburg went down. 

Competitively, this was a big hit for the Nationals, because the team lost their ace, the stopper who brought them from obscurity to relevance.

Although they were not in contention for a playoff spot in 2010, the team was looking forward to Strasburg leading the charge in 2011.

Finishing with a 2.97 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings, the hopes for a great 2011 were realistic.

Then on August 21, Strasburg tore his ulnar collateral ligament and was out for 12-18 months requiring Tommy John surgery.

In addition to the competitive hit that the injury causes, the Nationals are also feeling a financial blow.

On non-Strasburg days, Nationals Park drew an average of 22,568 fans, compared to 33,421 on his start days.

Along with an average ticket price increase from $51.11 to $103.28 on his starts, the Nationals average game revenue goes down from $3,451,721 to $1,110,825, an incredible amount.

Away from Nationals park, the teams that Strasburg pitched against also felt the "Strasburg Effect."

Here are some simple statistics about his away starts:

1. June 13 at Cleveland: avg. attendance of 17,435. Strasburg draws 32,876.

2. June 28 at Atlanta: avg. attendance of 30,989. Strasburg draws 42,889.

3. July 16 at Florida: avg. attendance of 18,593. Strasburg draws 27,937.

4. July 21 at Cincinnati: avg. attendance of 25,438. Strasburg draws 37,868.  

5. August 21 at Philadelphia: avg. attendance of 45,027. Strasburg draws 45,266.

Astonishing. Aside from Philadelphia, which sells out almost every game, Strasburg caused an influx of fans that few athletes are capable of.

His popularity and the effect he has, competitively and financially to the Nationals, is measurable and incredible.

The "Strasburg Effect" is real and the Nationals can only hope that Stephen Strasburg comes back healthy and ready to rock like he did in 2010.

Oh, and also sell jerseys at the same rate (80,000 in just over two months of play, 13th most popular in the league).