Monday, May 4, 2009

No Substitute For Work Ethic...Ask Steven Strasburg

San Diego State’s RHP Stephen Strasburg was the consensus pick to go #1 in the 2009 MLB draft. High school athletes…take note…this kid almost killed an opportunity for himself due to a less than stellar work ethic…He had the talent…but like many athletes his age at the time, you can’t make it on talent alone at the next level…it takes a lot of extra work and effort to compete at a high level…Strasburg realized this his freshman year in college and the rest is history…Consider this:

* Strasburg owns a 10-0 record in 11 starts in 2009.

* Won his last six starts and has a 1.06 ERA in his last seven starts (6 ER/51.0 IP).

* Allowed 0 earned runs in 27 of his last 28 innings pitched and four earned runs total in his last 38 innings of work (0.95 ERA).

* In six road/neutral starts this season he is 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA (5 ER/44.2 IP).

* Has a current streak of no earned runs allowed in his last 21 inning pitched on the road.

* Leads the nation in strikeouts (147), strikeouts per nine innings (16.9) and ranks second in ERA, third in wins and seventh in hits allowed per nine innings.

* Struck out at least 11 batters in 10 of his 11 starts this season.

* Has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his last 12 starts dating back to last season.

* Issued two walks or fewer in 23 of his 24 career starts.

* Had a streak of 57 consecutive innings where he allowed one run or fewer broken in the seventh inning of his April 24 start vs. TCU.

* Won last eight home decisions dating back to last season.

* Has 53 strikeouts in his last four starts covering a span of 30 innings.


Not bad for a guy that wasn’t a highly recruited college player or drafted out of high school. Currently Strasburg is listed at 6′4″ and 220 lbs. In high school, he was slightly shorter and about 50-60 lbs. heavier. The heaviness was due to a poor work ethic and as a result his fastball barely touched 90 mph.

Nevertheless, San Diego pitching coach Rusty Filter saw something in him and insisted on having him in camp. In his freshman season, Filter but Strasburg on a conditioning regimen that included hot yoga and as a result, Strasburg shed 30 lbs. Not only that, his velocity began to creep up. By the time he was a sophomore, his fastball was consistently clocked at 97-99 mph with occasional touches of 100 and 101. Strasburg also possesses a plus-plus-plus slider at 81-84mph. He has a plus change that he uses infrequently and a plus curve in the 70s.

On April 11 against the University of Utah, Strasburg took the mound and walked off it nine innings later having set San Diego State and Mountain West Conference records with 23 strikeouts.

It is estimated that a pick of Strasburg will cost a team between $30-$40 million dollars. Considering that Washington has the first pick, it will be interesting to see what they do after messing up their negotiations with Aaron Crow last year for monetary reasons. Would they do it twice in a row? Not likely, yet the franchise is in shambles and is the laughingstock of MLB. It is an interesting scenario however, since the pitching thin Washington Nationals may welcome Strasburg to their starting rotation as early as the latter part of 2009.

Sports agent Scott Boras has let people know that client Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State University pitcher who is considered the consensus top pick in the June baseball draft, will ask for a six-year contract worth upward of $45-million (U.S.). If he doesn’t get it, he will pitch in Japan.

I could see the MLB getting on Washington about signing a big contract. They hate when teams go over slot. The Nats may have to at least triple and probably more for the #1 overall slot.

But do you give him the Boras money? Well… Vs. Team Cuba, he pitched in comparison better than Clemens and Pettite when they pitched, clearly has more velocity, and judging by his kk:bb rate, he has the great command. I say yes...he's certainly earned it.

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