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Stephen Strasburg has 1.59 ERA since Tommy John surgery

May 11, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

Stephen Strasburg Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg‘s latest dominant start last night featured 13 strikeouts and just one earned run in six innings against the Pirates, including blowing a 96-mph fastball past Garrett Jones with the bases loaded on his 103rd and final pitch.

Strasburg’s combined numbers since returning from Tommy John surgery in September are absolutely ridiculous: 68 innings, 1.59 ERA, 75 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers allowed, .189 opponents’ batting average.

He’s lost a little bit of velocity, averaging 95.7 miles per hour with his fastball compared to 97.3 mph before surgery, but even 95.7 mph is the fastest fastball in baseball by a relatively wide margin this season. He also leads baseball in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings. Oh, and even after sitting out nearly an entire calendar year after going under the knife Strasburg is still two months shy of his 24th birthday.

  1. mox19380 - May 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    As a Phillies fan, I hate to like him and have a hard time hating. He’s dominant in a way I haven’t seen in many young pitchers. A lot like Clemens but with a crazy hook instead of the Clemens slider. You’d almost never know that he missed a year due to injury

  2. caps247 - May 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Before I die I will eat an entire 10 pound Strasburger at Nats Park.

    • bsbiz - May 11, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      That’s probably a good goal. It would take several years just to finish one.

    • Jonny 5 - May 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      “Before I die I will eat an entire 10 pound Strasburger at Nats Park. Unless I die while trying to eat it.”

      There, I fixed that for you.

      • Jeremy T - May 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        oh, looks like I wasn’t the first to think of that… oh well!

    • Jeremy T - May 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      I’m assuming by “before I die” you mean “directly before I die”

  3. sfm073 - May 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    He’ll become the best pitcher in baseball within the next two years. Let’s hope he can stay healthy for baseballs sake.

    • mianfr - May 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      With all due respect, looking at the present season only (with a little bit of past results, to ease sample size worries), what’s the argument that he isn’t already?

      • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        Who would you rather have, right now and for the next 5 years, Kershaw or Strasburg? They’re almost identical in age. Of course, one has a Cy Young, is lefty and has no history of injury while the other is mostly based on potential with a serious arm injury within the past 2 years. Tough call, even for a Nats fan.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        Biggest issue is IP. Guys like Halladay, Verlander and Sabathia may be a notch below on the K rate or BB rate, but they routinely put up 240IP every single year. Strasburg needs to put a few back to back to back 220+IP seasons at this current level before he’s in that elite group.

      • Reflex - May 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM

        Kershaw. And its not even close. I’d take several others over Strasburg too. David Price comes to mind. Possibly Matt Moore, we’ll see. Strasburg is not going to have an injury free career, and that picture above is yet another illustrating why. His mechanics are off and that’s what blew out his elbow. His shoulder will be next.

        Good guy, but the Nats have demonstrated zero willingness to fix the mechanics of their young pitchers, which is just sad and borderline criminal given what it will do to their careers in the long run. Several pitching coaches have pointed out that it appears the Nats are intentionally targeting guys who know how to pitch but have poor mechanics, cynically speculating that they hope to get their best years while being able to use injuries as an excuse to not pay them the big bucks when free agency arrives. The Jays have been doing something similar the past few years as well…

      • mianfr - May 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        From your post I can tell that you are a person well-connected in baseball and possibly hold a medical degree who is also a Rays homer.

        Clearly you are ‘in the know’ and I apologize for upsetting you, Dr. Rayman.

      • Reflex - May 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM

        Not a Rays fan, but I do think they have two of the best young pitchers in the game. I think Kershaw is better than just about anyone else right now. And I think a lot of teams are starting to pay attention to mechanics as a method of injury prevention. The A’s and M’s certainly are, judging by comments made by their GM’s and trades they are making to move away from guys with specific motions, and it does not stretch credibility to think the Rays would pay attention to this given their “2%” mentality that means attention to detail on every other aspect of their organization.

        As for insider knowledge, nothing I stated there is difficult to find online, I suggest Chris O’Leary’s page for a primer on mechanics and why certain guys are ‘fated’ to have health problems while others seem to pitch forever…

  4. joewilliesshnoz - May 11, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    This guy is a bonafide phenom !

  5. minimoose763 - May 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    It will be interesting to see if the Nationals stick to their plan of limiting his innings this year. He’s such a dominant pitcher and if the Nationals get into October baseball I’m sure they will want him in the starting rotation.

    • natstowngreg - May 11, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      They will. They have handled Strasburg carefully, knowing he’s a huge part of their future. Though Mike Rizzo may have to lock himself in his office when Davey Johnson comes banging on the door, demanding just a few more starts from Strasburg.

  6. seeinred87 - May 11, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Strasburg is my favorite non-Tiger in baseball (by a long shot). He’s the main reason I have to catch all the Nats games.

    He missed an immaculate inning by 1 pitch last night, too.

  7. stabonerichard - May 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Strasburg is pretty good, no denying that. But I’ve never seen him randomly drill somebody with his heat, so it stands to reason he just doesn’t have that old school toughness you like to see in a pitcher.

    • nvandy42 - May 11, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Ridiculous. Maybe you’d prefer Cole Hamels on your team? That old school toughness doesn’t doo too much for ya when you’re suspended by the league. I’ll take a strikeout any day over hitting another player for a feeling of retribution and a runner on 1st…..

  8. kkolchak - May 11, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    I would also note regarding Strasburg’s slight “loss of velocity,” that he is trying to pitch more to contact than he did before the surgery in order to reduce the strain on his arm. Scary to think that he’s holding back a bit as has an extra gear available for when he really needs it.

  9. nvandy42 - May 11, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    The man is an animal. The year after Tommy John is always tough and he’s still dominating. Look at Adam Wainwright this year, awful year after TJ and he was considered elite. If Stras keeps going he’ll have a better year that Wainwright did in all his Cy Young consideration years. The man isn’t human. This coming from a Twins fan

  10. caps247 - May 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I’m just saying, a $60 burger (or more if I don’t recall) is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Minus the very inevitable probability of having a heart attack right after finishing it, that is.

    • samu0034 - May 11, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      That really makes it just that much more “once in a lifetime”.

  11. ahmiller21 - May 11, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    I really hope he stays healthy, if so he will be one of the best ever. Between him and Harper they could really build a team around those two.

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