Too much success too fast can definitely be a bad thing on a MLB starting pitcher. Names like Mark Prior and Kerry Wood pop into mind immediately. Stephen Strasburg isn’t really on that list though he may seem to be at times this season. The Washington Nationals young ace is having a superb season this year in spite of a 6 – 9 record. If we use the Greg Maddux theory of pitching stats, we can see just how good Strasburg has been in 2013.
Maddux always said and says that the record does not matter because so much of winning and losing a game is outside of the pitcher’s control. He is right of course though MLB and most of us still gauge a pitcher’s season by his won – loss record. Strasburg may only have 6 wins but he has also pitched for a bad team most of the season. Let’s just look at his pitching stats.
His 3.00 ERA ranks 23rd in the National League. That might seem high but it isn’t when you consider how many starters there are. Don’t believe me? Ask Hyun-Jin Ryu, Cliff Lee and Julio Teheran then because he ranks higher than each of them. Strasburg’s 1.06 WHIP ranks 11th in the N.L. among all starters, which speaks for itself. He also ranks 10th with an opposition batting average of .210. Just in case that confuses you, he is just behind Matt Harvey who has a mark of .209.
I think that makes the point pretty solidly. One pitcher cannot make a season and even Strasburg’s enormous expectations each season do not guarantee a great win – loss performance. Where it counts for a pitcher however, Strasburg is right there among the best in the National League. What more do we want from him?