It's week two of our journey to 44 player reviews covering each and every player that graced NatsTown's presence this past season. We will continue to tweak the process based on your comments, so keep those going.
Stephen Strasburg - Age 23
How he became a Nat: 1st Round pick in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft
The Raw Numbers:
Games - 5
ERA - 1.50
FIP - 1.28
K/9 - 9.00
WHIP - 0.71
WAR - 1.1
Key Stat: 0.75 and 1.1. In his rehab year after Tommy John Surgery Stephen Strasburg managed to have an absolutely astounding BB/9 ratio of 0.75 - meaning he walked less than a batter per 9 innings. This is almost unheard of after such a strenuous recovery program. I couldn't help but add a second key stat (sue me), 1.1 was Strasburg's WAR for the past year. Consider that Strasburg pitched less than 5 IP/start that is a fantastic WAR for a starter. The 1.1 averaged to a full season (30 starts) would be a 6.6 WAR - placing Strasburg as the 6th best starter in all of baseball; behind Halladay (8.2), Sabathia (7.1), Verlander (7.0), Kershaw (6.8), and Lee (6.7). 31 starts would place him tied with Kershaw, 32 starts would put him tied with Verlander, and 33 starts would be 2nd in all of Baseball. *All purely hypothetical*
Best Game: Is there really any question as to which game was his best? September 28th vs the Marlins, the last game of the season. Strasburg gave all of NatsTown another reason to get excited about next year. He went 6.0 Innings, gave up just a single to Gaby Sanchez, walked 2, and struck out a whopping 10 batters!
Worst Game: That would be the start right before his best game - September 23rd vs the Bravos. Strasburg only went 4 innings, allowed 3 runs (2 earned), and gave up 5 hits. As worst games go - I would take this as the worst any day of the year.
CapBall Grade: A. This was an absolute no-brainer. Strasburg came back from Tommy John Surgery without missing a beat. He is ready to assume his place among the MLB elite in 2012.
2012 Nats Status: Barring a setback or freak injury, I believe that Strasburg will be the Nats #2 starter next year - behind Jordan Zimmermann. His fastball, predictably, dipped 1.5 MPH but his Change and Curve also dipped along with it, which is really all that matters. It should be noted that his fastball hit triple digits in the final game of the season - when he was fileting fish. Expect his velocity to top out around 99-100 next season. It should be a fun year watching him pitch.