Heading into 2012, Stephen Strasburg had a cloud of uncertainty hovering around him. Not only was the 23-year old top prospect coming off Tommy John surgery, but rumors were buzzing around the major leagues that the righty would never be the same. It took him all but a few starts to prove those rumors wrong.
Strasburg was hands down one of the best pitchers in fantasy baseball the game last season. He shredded lineups to the tune of a 15-6 record, 3.16 ERA, and a whopping 197 strike outs in less than 160 innings pitched. That’s more than 11 K’s per nine innings. Absolutely dominant, if you want to put it lightly.
The only problem? He didn’t finish.
On the verge of their first playoff birth in 70 years, the Washington Nationals shut down their star pitcher with about a month left in the regular season, which just happens to be the start of the playoffs in most fantasy baseball leagues. In other words, the only groans louder than those in our nation’s capital were those of Strasburg’s owners, most of which saw their top pitcher go useless when it mattered most.
In 2013, that’ll all pay off. Trust me.
Strasburg has a legitimate chance of being the best pitcher in baseball in 2013. In fact, he has a good chance of being the best for the next decade or so.
There isn’t a pitcher in the game today with stuff as wicked as Strasburg. His changeup is usually between 88 and 92 miles per hour, or about the average speed of a normal pitcher’s fastball, and it breaks a solid seven inches as well. As for Strasburg’s fastball, he can crank that baby up to 100 mph if he wants, and it too has some sinking action on it. His curve might be the worst of his pitches, but it still gets to the mid 80′s and breaks a good five-seven inches, enough to make the occasional hitter look silly.
He’ll be two years removed from his Tommy John surgery this year, and he’ll have had an extra long off season to recoup and prepare. On top of that, the lineup backing him up will be better than ever. If that isn’t reason enough to not pass up on the 24-year old ace, I don’t know what is.
If Strasburg can go the entire season without injury, he could break records. No pitcher in baseball is as potent when standing on the mound. In 24 starts last season, he struck out nearly 200 batters. Imagine what he could do in 35 starts. We could be talking 250 strike outs if he can stay healthy, and with the Nationals high-powered lineup behind him, we could see the 20 win mark come and go long before season’s end.
He’s that good, and he’s only going to get better.
ESPN has Strasburg fourth among pitchers in 2013, which amounts to 24th overall. That makes him a third-round pick. It also makes him impossible to pass up. If Strasburg is available in the third round, jump on him without hesitation. Don’t even think about it. If he’s there in the second and you want him, take him. Heck, if he’s there in the first and you would love to have him, reach for him.
20 wins, a 2.75 ERA and 230 K’s aren’t going to disappoint.