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Stephen Strasburg continues to toy with minor leaguers

Apr 28, 2010, 8:20 AM EDT

Strasburg in rain.jpgWhen grade school kids are faced with what Stephen Strasburg is currently faced with — the total lack of a challenge — they are double promoted. Or at least put in the gifted class or something, because if they get bored they start setting fires and stuff.

Strasburg pitched five no-hit innings yesterday with no walks and six strikeouts. He even got an RBI single. According to the game story the radar gun gave reading of 94, but those in the know say that it runs about 4 m.p.h. slow.

Strasburg’s ERA is 0.52. He has allowed only seven
hits in 17 innings and has struck out 23 dudes while walking just three.  I think he’s ready.

Of course he still won’t be called up for a few weeks yet, because as everyone knows — and despite whatever things Strasburg and the Nats say about him still needing to work on things — this is clearly a service time thing.  We’ve talked about this before with respect to various prospects, but for everything you ever wanted to know about Super Two status, service time politics and how it all relates to Strasburg, the Post had a pretty comprehensive piece on it back in March.

  1. Evan - Apr 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    This guy looks like the real deal. I can understand why they haven’t brought him up yet. He may be ready physically, but the jury is still out his mental toughness.
    I think the best test for a pitcher is seeing how he does after he gets beaten up. As we all know, MLB batters are in a different stratosphere than minor league ones.

  2. Moses Green - Apr 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    It’s also about preventing the Verducci Effect. How often does a major league pitcher get pulled during a no-hitter? With apologies to Jason @ IIATMS — It’s not always about the money.

  3. BC - Apr 28, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    Mark Prior was unhittable when he first came on the scene, and you see how that worked out. A college season is what, about 70 games? So maybe he gets 16 to 18 starts? I say let him keep mowing guys down and see how he’s doing after 20-25 starts. Then either call him up or put him on the major league roster Day 1 next year. Washington isn’t winning anything this year anyway.

  4. Rays fan - Apr 28, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    I heard it was a passed ball that kept him from perfection.

  5. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 28, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    He may be ready physically, but the jury is still out his mental toughness.

    Check out the SI article I linked below. Strasburg has had to deal with his share of mental “toughness” issues and has become a better player because of it. My favorite line:
    Strasburg could not get through four sprints without vomiting. “Is there something wrong with you?” Ohton asked. “Do you have a medical condition?”
    Strasburg bowed his head, his chubby cheeks a bright red. “Just out of shape,” he said. Ohton nicknamed him Slothburg, which he later shortened to Sloth. “I demoralized this young man,” Ohton says. “I didn’t even want him around the other players. I had never seen a college athlete who was as far behind as he was. I didn’t think it was possible to be that bad.” After two weeks of conditioning and purging Strasburg passed Ohton on the stairs in the weight room. “I appreciate your staying on top of me,” Strasburg said. Ohton paused at the top of the staircase. “Sloth,” he said, “you really should consider quitting. You’re not going to make it.”
    Recalling that exchange, Ohton shakes his head. “Well,” he says, “I guess he shoved those words up my ass.”

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 28, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Yep. A dropped strike three that allowed a baserunner on.

  7. YANKEES1996 - Apr 28, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    You are talking about four starts and a 0.52 era against A or AA hitters, this is far from setting the world on fire. The Nationals are not and are not going to be in the hunt for a division title this year. Why rush the kid and sacrifice his and the teams future, he has not even thrown a single pitch at AAA. Let the kid pitch in the Minors and build his arm strength, confidence and pitch selection, who really cares if he is out classing his competition right now believe me that won’t be case when he is pitching against Albert Pujols and other top notch Major Leaguers.
    ReCaptcha for this post : “shelled when”, he reaches the Majors.

  8. RH - Apr 28, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    I was at the Reading game lst night. The guy is a ground ball machine. There was only 1 hard hit ball (in the 5th, after the strikeout/passed ball) that probably would have left the park if not for it bing 50 degrees and the wind blowing straight in (it was caught right in front of the 371 marker). Overall, the R-Phils were way overmatched at the plate.

  9. Evan - Apr 28, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Church, that really doesn’t impress me and I’m not sure why it impresses you. He got ragged on in college because he was out of shape? That’s a FARCRY from starting game 5 of a divison series during a contract year with an entire region/city counting on you…

  10. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 28, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    It’s more of a reading between the lines comment, he was terrible when he first went to college, and was verbally berated until he made himself into a better pitcher. He was also coached by Tony Gwynn and has been in the spotlight for some time, so he’s had to deal with all the hype that involves being a consensus #1 pick.
    Also let’s be honest, if he struggles, the 10 fans who show up to watch the nationals won’t cause enough of a ruckus to bother him.

  11. lessick - Apr 28, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Take a look at Jake Arrieta’s numbers in Norfolk–equally impressive and both appear to be in that Super Two discussion.

    At some point, you have to ask what more these guys could do to minor league hitters. Their numbers can’t possibly get better.

  12. Chris Simonds - Apr 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Aw, c’mon, make him pitch 200+ innings this year between minors and majors and let’s see if his arm falls off. It’ll be a bigger hoot than a zombie horror flick. It’ll be on live tv!

  13. Evan - Apr 28, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Don’t get me wrong. What he has done in 17 innings in the minors has been impressive. But I hardly think that qualifies as “dealing with the hype,” as you put it. Again, lets see how he does against Major League batters.
    I do agree with you with the regards to the Nats fanbase. There’s nothing intimidating about empty seats and as long as he’s a Nat, I don’t think he’ll be pitching game 5 or 7 of a postseason series.

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