More Thoughts on Stephen Strasburg and His Progress

During his brief time in the Major Leagues, Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg has proven to have talent and room to grow. Strasburg has shown he can blow away and intimidate weaker teams. There is no doubt Strasburg has the talent but has been tested in his last two starts when faced with a stronger lineup and little run support.

Below are thoughts on Strasburg after seeing him pitch in the weeks after he made is second start at Progressive Field in Cleveland:

Teams that become patient eventually start hitting off him in the later innings- During his start against the Atlanta Braves, Strasburg was dominant during the early innings but struggled later on. Atlanta has a more experienced lineup and there is no doubt veteran Braves Manager Bobby Cox had been scouting Strasburg out. In the seventh inning, the Braves offense exploded and ended up taking the lead needed to secure a win.

In the later innings, Strasburg tends to stick to a pattern and isn’t as aggressive when going after the hitters- In the seventh inning of his start against the Braves, Strasburg tended to throw a lot more breaking balls and did not go after the hitters like he did in the earlier innings. The Braves hitters started taking the first pitch and with patience, ended up hitting a fastball Strasburg had no choice but to throw down the middle. Strasburg tried to rely more on his breaking pitches and the Braves lineup was not fooled. That led to Strasburg loading the bases and the Braves breaking up the scoreless tie.

There is no doubt Strasburg is talented and can improve- Strasburg seems to be receptive to coaching and veteran leadership. Strasburg is dominant in the early innings and his talent shows by the number of strikeouts he achieves and the number posted on the radar guns. Having a veteran catcher in Ivan Rodriguez no doubt has helped Strasburg and he can rely on Pudge’s leadership.

The Nationals will have to give Strasburg more run support- It might seem as if Captain Obvious came up with this one but it’s true. Strasburg has not had the benefit of run support in his last two starts and this could be detrimental later on. Strasburg is a key tool to the Nationals plan to build a winner but in a tough NL East division, the Nationals will have to give him and the rest of the pitching staff more run support. If Strasburg puts up good numbers with few wins, the Nationals could see him leave the Capital City in a few years for a team that will provide him the run support.


~ by jeffrsabo on June 30, 2010.

2 Responses to “More Thoughts on Stephen Strasburg and His Progress”

  1. Seems like what I’ve been saying all along is starting to show. He was able to dominate college kids and minor leaguers with that off-speed breaking junk, but eventually the big league hitters will catch on and lay off that stuff, causing him problems.

    • Anthony,

      He does struggle with his off-speed material in the later innings. I’ve noticed when teams lay off, he loads up the bases. I figured Atlanta was going to be patient in the later innings due to the experience of their lineup and it helped them win that game.


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