Entries Tagged as 'Stephen Strasburg'

Strasburg’s progress moving along

Catch every Stephen Strasburg outing in 2012 with MLB Extra Innings on DIRECT TV.

With everyone seeming to be going on the DL these days, it’s nice to hear about someone making some progress.  Stephen Strasburg has been doing well since his TJ surgery and now is beginning to throw curveballs in practice says The Sporting News.

Indeed, he has been throwing fastballs at “full speed” so things are looking up.  It may not be long before the Nat’s schedule a minor league rehab assignment.  Still, it’s still questionable whether he will see major league action this year.

Some question whether Strasburg’s rehab has been moving TOO quickly and if there’s been enough thought put into whether he should change his mechanics due to the Tommy John surgery.

For Strasburg’s part though, it appears that he is handling everything calmly and as maturely as a 23-year old can.

Lift the hype on Strasburg

I have to admit, I’m impressed that Mr Strasburg has been able to live up to the hype after two starts.  Sooner or later, he has to come down to earth, I would think. 

Our freshman outfielder at the University of Illinois hit three homeruns in his first college game against the #1 team in the nation last year.  A lot was made of it nationally obviously and his name was put on the map.  But one thing I remember was what our color guy (and former Illini player) said.  “That’s the worst thing that could happen to him”. 

Now our outfielder has been doing great since his first day but our color guy’s point is well taken.  There’s a lot to be said for our sports media setting expectations and then having a player live up to them.  There are Stephen Strasburg player trackers out there and every game he pitches is being live-blogged by practically everyone.  What would the baseball community do if he pitched one game like a regular human being?

Despite all the hype, he’s still a 21 year old rookie with two Major League starts to his name.  He’ll have some developing and growing to do even at this level.  Let’s let Strasburg develop naturally and preferably with as little pressure as possible (considering he was sleeping two hours before his second start, he seems to be doing a good job of not letting it get to him). 

Strasburg could turn into another Bob Feller but let’s not set the expectations so high that we turn him into a Mark Prior.

What kind of #1 pick will Strasburg be?

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has a rather interesting article regarding Stephen Strasburg and former MLB first round picks.  His point is simple… we’ve gotten some real goodies with the #1 pick (Griffey, Arod, Chipper, Mauer) but at the same time, there have been some duds, too. 

Crasnick trots out some examples to make his point.  Players like Brien Taylor (who never even made to the majors), Matt Anderson, Paul Wilson to name just a few.  When I take a cursory look at Baseball Reference’s list of first round picks, I come away with the opinion that position players seem to have better luck than pitchers.  Hence the concern about Strasburg.

Don’t get me wrong… this isn’t an indictment by me on Stephen Strasburg’s talent or the possibility he may develop into a first-rate pitcher.  Rather it’s a concern that the media, baseball pundits and fans may expect too much too soon from someone who has yet to pitch in a regular season baseball game. 

This pre-season, the media and other baseball are falling over themselves trying to cover this guy.  I get the feeling they’re also falling in love with him too (sometimes in the weirdest way).  The day of his first start in spring training, everyone was all abuzz (and a-twitter) about it.  I pretty much got an over-excited pitch-by-pitch account of his appearance.  If he scratched his nose, I heard about it. 

Now that it’s been decided that Strasburg will make his debut later this year (some have said “delay”), I’m sure the media will no doubt keep an eye on his minor league development. 

I really would like to see this guy succeed.  So let’s give the guy some room and maybe not so much pressure.  I’d hate to have another Mark Prior on our hands. 

11/21/09 AFL Championship Game: Desert Dogs vs Javelinas

storen02250802There will be plenty of prospects to satisfy anybody’s appetite in the 2009 AFL Championship game Saturday November 21st in Scottsdale, AZ.  I’m really bummed that I’m not in the Arizona desert to see this showdown between the Phoenix Desert Dogs and the Peoria Javelinas.

Even without Stephen Strasburg, this game will feature alot of talented young baseball players.  For example, Drew Storen was the 2nd first rounder drafted by the Washington Nationals.  He threw up a 0.66 ERA, 2-0, 4 saves, 13 strikeouts in 13″ innings pitched this Fall for the Desert Dogs, and appears to be on the fast track to the Nation’s Capital.  Storen starred at Stanford before turning pro.

A Javelinas star is the 2nd player taken in the 2009 draft out of the University of North Carolina by the Seattle Mariners, outfielder, Dustin Ackley.  Ackley showed off his skills in the AFL, batting .315.  Dustin put up fantastic numbers in college, batting .402, .417, & .417 in his three years in collegiate ball.

Another pitching prospect for the Nationals appearing for Phoenix was Baylor’s Jeff Mandel, 14′ innings, striking out 10, without issuing a base on balls, and a nifty 1.88 ERA.  Mandel was 12-6 this past season, splitting time between A+ & AA Ball.  Two Javelinas pitching prospects were Eric Krebs of the Pirates 19 strikeouts in 13″ innings and the Tigers Andrew Oliver who struckout 16 batters in 16 innings.  One hurler I’m hoping to see pitch in the game is Robbie Weinhardt of the Javelinas and the Tigers, 29 strikeouts in 18′ innings in the AFL.

Some of the hitting prospects I’m looking forward to seeing are the White Sox thirdbaseman Brent Morel for the Javelinas, a couple of Desert Dogs firstbasemen Brandon Snyder of the Orioles & the Nats Christopher Marrero, another Nationals prospect out of Long Beach State SS Danny Espinosa, White Sox/Javelinas outfielder Jordan Danks (brother of John), and AFL home run champ with 11 Grant Desme of the A’s & the Desert Dogs.  Interestingly Morel & Desme, who’ll square off in this contest, were teammates at Cal Poly.

While my heart might be in the desert, the rest of me will be in front of my TV watching some of the best young players, playing a little baseball, can’t wait!

AFL Rising Stars Game on MLB Network Tonight

desmeThe Arizona Fall League has six teams composed of young up & coming baseball players from all 30 major league teams.  Tonight the MLB Network will broadcast the AFL Rising Stars Game at 7:00 PM Chicago time.  Stephen Strasburg was supposed to start for the East, but will be replaced by Tommy Mendoza, Strasburg has a strained neck muscle.  Mike Minor will be on the hill for the West.  One of the Rising Stars is power hitting centerfielder Grant Desme of the Oakland A’s.  Desme hit 11 home runs at Kane County before being promoted to A+ Stockton, where he hit another 20 home runs in 2009.  Grant has already hit ten more long balls in the Fall, while batting .354.

I’ve been going to the valley of the sun the past four years to watch baseball prospects before they reach the big leagues.  Last year I saw AL Rookie of the Year Chicago White Sox thirdbaseman Gordon Beckham and phenom righthander of the Atlanta Braves Tommy Hanson.  It’s also fun to hang with major league scouts there to take in the action.  I’ll be out there again soon, reporting on baseball, possibly with a podcast, or two.

Nats plans in the first round of MLB draft

A quick link to an article on mlb.com detailing what the Nationals are rumoring to do in the first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Yes, they are expected to draft San Diego State RHP Stephen Strasburg with the #1 pick but they also have the #10 pick as well.  It looks like they’re planning on choosing a pitcher with that pick as well but acting GM Mike Rizzo is tight lipped on who it will be only saying that he has trust in his scouting staff:

"I haven’t seen the amount of players that I have in the past," Rizzo said. "I’m listening and hearing what the people around me are saying — kind of gathering information and then putting it all together and making a decision. I’ve seen the top 20 or so players in the Draft, but once you get beyond that, you trust your people. We have a great staff over here."

The first comment, however, may be telling about how the Nats fan base feels, though.  In part it says (caps and all):



Some thoughts on the MLB First-Year Player Draft

MLB.com’s draft expert Jonathan Mayo takes a stab at projecting the first round of the First-Year Player Draft.  Here is his latest guess at what might go down next week.  Draft projections are always a crap shoot but it seems we as baseball fans love something to argue over so they serve a purpose. 

In Mayo’s projected draft, it is definitely pitcher oriented.  North Carolina’s Dustin Ackley is the only non-pitcher listed in the top fifteen.  Ackley plays first and outfield. 

Arizona State hurler Mike Leake would have been an interesting top pick if only because there have been three other ASU #1 picks in the history of the MLB draft.  There are no other schools who have more than one top picks in the draft.  Leake is upping his stock with his performance in the NCAA Regionals but…

… it seems the consensus so far that righty Stephen Strasburg from San Diego State is the favorite for Washington Nationals’ pick. 


Eric Arnett pitching in the Big Ten Tournament

Big Ten fans should note that Indiana University pitcher Eric Arnett places #15 on Mayo’s projection.  As someone who saw Arnett more than a couple times this year and witnessed him mow down the opposition during the Big Ten Tournament, Mayo’s confidence in him is not misplaced.  A little off topic but Arnett, by the way, is twittering now. 

Some breaking news… Kyle Gibson a right-handed pitcher from Missouri who is/was a potential #1 pick, has suffered a setback.  He’ll be sidelined for a couple of weeks with a stress fracture in his right forearm following his last outing.  Gibson pitched shutout ball in his last two starts spanning 14 innings. 

Time will tell if this will affect his position in the draft.