June 15, 2024

Strasburg Returns

Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg is off the 15-day DL and will pitch tonight against the Florida Marlins. Strasburg’s first trip to the DL was based on a little tightness in his pitching shoulder which was later diagnosed as inflammation. The Nationals have made it very clear that they are going to be extremely cautious with their ‘future’ in hopes of avoiding any major arm injuries. The number-one pick in the 2009 MLB Draft is 5-2 with 75 strikeouts, 15 walks and 2.32 ERA in his frist nine starts with the Nationals. I’m happy to hear he is back on the mound this evening and it should be a good show.

Staggering Strasburg

Coming into Stephen Strasburg’s first Major League start last night there seemed to be more hype than what surrounded the release of ‘New Coke’ or ‘Sega Genesis’ many moons ago. Even with all the hoopla and what seemed to be an inevitable let down Strasburg exceeded expectations of not only the Nationals, but everyone else who watched as well. The Nationals stud rookie KO’ed a stunning fourteen batters from the Pittsburgh Pirates (I know you are thinking, but it’s the Pirates) and allowed a meager two runs in seven innings pitched. Keep in mind the most strikeouts by a pitcher this year was fourteen and Strasburg could have had more if he remained in the game considering he erased the last seven batters her faced on strikes. Strasburg will pitch again on June 13th in Cleveland and the Indians are already expecting an increase of at least 10,000 tickets sold. The Nationals need Strasburg to live up to his potential in almost every way in order to solidify a very shaky franchise, but Major League Baseball could also enjoy a substantial windfall from the Strasburg phenomenon as well.

The Strasburg Skinny

Has anyone been wondering why the lowly Washington Nationals would send their can’t miss number-one draft pick pitcher Stephen Strasburg down to the minors this past weekend? Initially it seems like a very dumb move when you consider Strasburg would bring a lot of attention to a team that needs it in the worst way and he would get people to fill the stands every time he pitched. These things are true, but the Nationals have actually put a lot of thought into this move and it makes a lot of sense when you really think about why they sent him down. The Nationals can delay Strasburg’s opportunity for free agency by an entire year if they play their cards right. Strasburg only needs to be in the minors for 20 days or more and it would prevent him from achieving enough service time to qualify for free agency at the end of his sixth season. Most baseball writers believe Strasburg will be up by early June at the latest which would be right about the time the Nationals season will officially be over since they will most assuredly already have 40 losses.

BREAKING NEWS! Yanks Get Strasburg…Umm Not

The MLB Draft is today and the foregone conclusion is that the Nationals will use the first overall pick on Stephen Strasburg. Most years, there is a consensus overall top pick so one might think that with the 44 years of the draft there would be several Hall of Famers go as the first overall pick, but that isn’t the case. Until Ken Griffey Jr. and Chipper Jones retire and wait five years, we will not have one single player with that distinction to date. Speaking of distinctio, Chipper Jones was the quickest #1 Overall Pick to make it to the World Series (5 years) and then surpassed last year by Tampa Bay’s 2007 #1 pick David Price.

steven_strasburg09On the other side of the coin, some people think that the first overall pick has turned out to be a bust just as often as not, but is it fair to consider someone like Tim Foli or Bill Almon, who played 15 and 16 years in the majors, respectively, busts? Teams usually end up getting a solid major league player at the top slot of the draft, even if they do not always end up landing the “best” player.

Strasburg is widely believed to be the most outstanding amateur pitching prospect in history. Videos and eyewitness accounts reveal a right-hander throwing 103-mph fastballs and unhittable curves. He’s the real thing, no question; some of the quotes from veteran scouts are so outrageously giddy, it sounds as if they just returned from Mars. That being said, he isn’t worth $10 million any more than any other player in the history of the draft because he hasn’t done anything in the bigs.  The only problem is that with Scott Boras as his agent he will be asking for $50 million and will Washington even be able to sign him? What? Cant Washington trade the pick? Nope! Even a prospect like Strasburg is not without risk, and the Nationals could be sinking a lot of money into a failed investment.  They cannot even draft and trade him, as teams must wait one year to trade any player they have drafted.  Is this the ideal situation for the Nationals? Of course not.  I think the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox would give the Nats a king’s ransom for the right to draft Strasburg.  This package of prospects would help the Nationals rebuild their 21st ranked farm system, and would also make sense financially.

Baseball would benefit from the increased exposure of the new draft.  The Canadian media is having a field day penning articles regarding whether or not the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to pry the second overall pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning in order to draft Ontario Hockey League superstar John Tavares.  The same would happen in baseball.

It would also give small-budget teams the opportunity to make educated decisions regarding what is best for their franchise.  They could make a trade to benefit their team now or build the farm system, rather than being forced to draft a top talent that they have to make an immediate multi-millionaire.

The Draft needs to be refined as well as provide a cap ala the NBA as this can only get out of hand moving forward.

Here are the Top 10 Worst Draft Picks:

10. Paul Wilson  – dogged by shoulder and elbow injuries that robbed him of most of his career

9. Matt Anderson – could throw 100 mph, ended up tearing a muscle in his throwing arm when he participated in an octopus throwing contest at Comerica Park

8. Shawn Abner – 1984 U.S. Olympic team finished with a lifetime .227 avg

7. Danny Goodwin – In 1971 turned down $60K to go to Southern Univ again the #1 in ’75 and blew his arm out as a catcher never hit in the pros

107x150-images-stories-danny-goodwin6. Bryan Bullington – the top overall pick in the 2002 draft to Pitt currently sits with an 0-5 record with a 5.08 ERA in 13 games

5. Al Chambers – Signed for $60,000 as a cant miss power hitter.. but played only 57 games in parts of three seasons, amassed just two home runs and a .208 average in 120 at-bats.

4. David Clyde – this story is a beauty… his senior year in high school, he went 18-0 with 14 shutouts and he established a high school record with 328 strikeouts. He was the first HS pitcher drafted with the first overall pick when the Rangers took him in 1973. Just 19 days after graduating high school, he was pitching in the majors. Clyde won his first start, became a gate attraction for the struggling Rangers (just two years after the move from Washington) and Texas kept him in the majors even though he was not ready. The following year, Billy Martin replaced Whitey Herzog as the team’s manager and he thought Clyde belonged in the minors. When the front office refused to ship him out, Clyde went 31 days without not only pitching in a game, but even warming up on the sidelines. Clyde lost his curveball, ended up having two shoulder surgeries and had problems with alcohol. He finished his career in the majors with an 18-33 mark with a 4.63 ERA.

3. Brien Taylor – Good ol’ Brien with an ‘E’ from Beaufort, North Carolina..#1 pick in 1991 and while in AA ball with a 13-7 record got into a fight after his older brother got roughed up and wrecked his shoulder. BTW Manny was the 13th pick.

2. Steve Chilcott – Mets took him over Reggie Jackson and signed for a $75,000 bonus. Chilcott never made the majors

1. Matt Bush – No relation to the ex prezes – he received a hefty $3,150,000 bonus. Bush was suspended by the Padres before he even played a game for an altercation outside a club. He hit poorly for two seasons, broke an ankle, converted to pitching, injured his elbow, got into alcohol-related trouble, was dealt to Toronto and finally was released this year before the season for violating the Blue Jays’ zero tolerance behavior policy. Best first-round picks that season: Justin Verlander (2nd), Jered Weaver (12th), Stephen Drew (15th).

The ‘Natinals’ spell as bad as they play

The Washington Nationals seriously suck. Everyone of you know that, but apparently the vortex of suck in DC has also grabbed a hold of the Nationals’ uniforms as well.

Last week, during the Nats’ brutal extra inning loss to the Marlins Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman were seen sporting “Natinals” jerseys.

How exactly does something this stupid happen to a semi pro baseball team? I have no idea, but I tell you what, it makes perfect sense that this happened to the Nationals.