Portrait of Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg PNationals

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2019 Projections (Preseason PECOTA - seasonal age 30)
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Birth Date7-20-1988
Height6' 5"
Weight235 lbs
Age31 years, 3 months, 30 days
WARP Summary

MLB Statistics

Historical (past-seasons) WARP is now based on DRA..
cFIP and DRA are not available on a by-team basis and display as zeroes(0). See TOT line for season totals of these stats.
Multiple stints are are currently shownClick to hide.
2010 WAS MLB 12 12 68.0 5 3 0 56 17 92 5 93 7.4 2.3 0.7 12.2 0% .319 1.07 2.10 2.91 59 2.39 53.9 2.3
2011 WAS MLB 5 5 24.0 1 1 0 15 2 24 0 96 5.6 0.8 0.0 9.0 0% .242 0.71 1.24 1.50 79 2.79 64.7 0.6
2012 WAS MLB 28 28 159.3 15 6 0 136 48 197 15 100 7.7 2.7 0.8 11.1 0% .311 1.15 2.86 3.16 70 2.26 51.7 5.5
2013 WAS MLB 30 30 183.0 8 9 0 136 56 191 16 102 6.7 2.8 0.8 9.4 0% .263 1.05 3.18 3.00 77 2.60 62.2 5.2
2014 WAS MLB 34 34 215.0 14 11 0 198 43 242 23 102 8.3 1.8 1.0 10.1 0% .315 1.12 2.91 3.14 67 2.18 53.4 7.0
2015 WAS MLB 23 23 127.3 11 7 0 115 26 155 14 96 8.1 1.8 1.0 11.0 0% .311 1.11 2.83 3.46 69 2.33 54.4 4.2
2016 WAS MLB 24 24 147.7 15 4 0 119 44 183 15 91 7.3 2.7 0.9 11.2 41% .294 1.10 2.95 3.60 80 2.73 60.4 4.5
2017 WAS MLB 28 28 175.3 15 4 0 131 47 204 13 97 6.7 2.4 0.7 10.5 48% .274 1.02 2.73 2.52 80 2.93 62.4 5.2
2018 WAS MLB 22 22 130.0 10 7 0 118 38 156 18 101 8.2 2.6 1.2 10.8 45% .309 1.20 3.58 3.74 84 2.97 66.4 3.5
2019 WAS MLB 33 33 209.0 18 6 0 161 56 251 24 101 6.9 2.4 1.0 10.8 52% .274 1.04 3.20 3.32 68 2.13 43.7 8.3

Statistics for All Levels

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
2010 WAS MLB NL 12 12 68.0 5 3 0 56 17 92 5 93 7.4 2.3 0.7 12.2 0% .319 1.07 2.10 2.91 59 2.39 53.9
2011 WAS MLB NL 5 5 24.0 1 1 0 15 2 24 0 96 5.6 0.8 0.0 9.0 0% .242 0.71 1.24 1.50 79 2.79 64.7
2011 HAG A SAL 3 3 6.3 0 1 0 9 3 13 1 115 12.8 4.3 1.4 18.5 0% .533 1.89 3.36 9.95 47 2.56 52.2
2011 POT A+ CAR 1 1 3.0 0 0 0 2 0 5 0 107 6.0 0.0 0.0 15.0 0% .286 0.67 -0.11 0.00 50 2.61 53.2
2011 HAR AA EAS 1 1 6.0 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 81 1.5 0.0 0.0 6.0 0% .071 0.17 2.57 0.00 91 2.43 49.6
2011 SYR AAA INT 1 1 5.0 0 0 0 2 0 7 0 97 3.6 0.0 0.0 12.6 0% .200 0.40 0.43 1.80 53 1.90 38.7
2012 WAS MLB NL 28 28 159.3 15 6 0 136 48 197 15 100 7.7 2.7 0.8 11.1 0% .311 1.15 2.86 3.16 70 2.26 51.7
2013 WAS MLB NL 30 30 183.0 8 9 0 136 56 191 16 102 6.7 2.8 0.8 9.4 0% .263 1.05 3.18 3.00 77 2.60 62.2
2014 WAS MLB NL 34 34 215.0 14 11 0 198 43 242 23 102 8.3 1.8 1.0 10.1 0% .315 1.12 2.91 3.14 67 2.18 53.4
2015 WAS MLB NL 23 23 127.3 11 7 0 115 26 155 14 96 8.1 1.8 1.0 11.0 0% .311 1.11 2.83 3.46 69 2.33 54.4
2015 HAR AA EAS 1 1 5.0 0 1 0 4 0 6 0 84 7.2 0.0 0.0 10.8 0% .286 0.80 0.87 1.80 64 2.48 54.4
2015 SYR AAA INT 2 2 9.7 1 1 0 9 1 16 0 103 8.4 0.9 0.0 14.9 0% .429 1.03 0.15 4.66 27 2.03 44.5
2016 WAS MLB NL 24 24 147.7 15 4 0 119 44 183 15 91 7.3 2.7 0.9 11.2 41% .294 1.10 2.95 3.60 80 2.73 60.4
2017 WAS MLB NL 28 28 175.3 15 4 0 131 47 204 13 97 6.7 2.4 0.7 10.5 48% .274 1.02 2.73 2.52 80 2.93 62.4
2017 POT A+ CAR 1 1 5.0 0 0 0 3 1 5 0 101 5.4 1.8 0.0 9.0 46% .231 0.80 1.99 1.80 87 3.13 66.7
2018 WAS MLB NL 22 22 130.0 10 7 0 118 38 156 18 101 8.2 2.6 1.2 10.8 45% .309 1.20 3.58 3.74 84 2.97 66.4
2018 POT A+ CAR 2 2 9.0 0 1 0 7 1 12 1 100 7.0 1.0 1.0 12.0 50% .261 0.89 2.80 1.00 63 2.56 54.1
2019 WAS MLB NL 33 33 209.0 18 6 0 161 56 251 24 101 6.9 2.4 1.0 10.8 52% .274 1.04 3.20 3.32 68 2.13 43.7

Plate Discipline

YEAR Pits Zone% Swing% Contact% Z-Swing% O-Swing% Z-Contact% O-Contact% SwStr%
2010 1064 0.4934 0.4596 0.7076 0.5543 0.3673 0.8110 0.5556 0.2924
2011 328 0.5366 0.4909 0.7453 0.6364 0.3224 0.8393 0.5306 0.2547
2012 2598 0.4369 0.4365 0.7231 0.6009 0.3090 0.8343 0.5553 0.2769
2013 2844 0.4838 0.4469 0.7490 0.6134 0.2909 0.8424 0.5644 0.2510
2014 3266 0.4881 0.4752 0.7365 0.6073 0.3493 0.8595 0.5325 0.2635
2015 2037 0.5228 0.4659 0.7387 0.6038 0.3148 0.8212 0.5654 0.2613
2016 2378 0.5324 0.4861 0.7474 0.6438 0.3067 0.8270 0.5572 0.2526
2017 2684 0.5201 0.4844 0.7177 0.6146 0.3432 0.8287 0.5023 0.2823
2018 2159 0.4794 0.4599 0.7180 0.6058 0.3256 0.8166 0.5492 0.2820
2019 3382 0.4432 0.4698 0.6929 0.5877 0.3760 0.8161 0.5395 0.3071

Injury History  —  No longer being updated

Last Update: 12/31/2014 23:59 ET

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2013-10-23 2013-10-23 Off 0 0 Right Elbow Surgery Loose Bodies 2013-10-23 -
2013-09-09 2013-09-22 DTD 13 12 Right Forearm Tightness - -
2013-08-22 2013-08-22 DTD 0 0 - Thigh Soreness Hamstring - -
2013-06-01 2013-06-16 15-DL 15 12 Right Shoulder Strain Latissimus Dorsi - -
2013-04-29 2013-04-29 DTD 0 0 Right Forearm Tightness - -
2012-06-30 2012-06-30 DTD 0 0 - General Medical Illness Dehydration - -
2012-06-13 2012-06-13 DTD 0 0 - Fingers Laceration Small - -
2012-05-20 2012-05-20 DTD 0 0 Right Upper Arm Tightness Biceps - -
2011-03-23 2011-09-06 60-DL 167 139 Right Elbow Recovery From Surgery Tommy John and Common Flexor Tendon 2010-09-03
2010-08-22 2010-10-04 60-DL 43 39 Right Elbow Surgery Tommy John and Common Flexor Tendon 2010-09-03
2010-07-22 2010-08-10 15-DL 19 17 Right Shoulder Inflammation -
2009-11-19 2009-11-22 WIN 3 0 Left Knee Subluxation Patella -
2009-11-15 2009-11-19 WIN 4 0 Neck Strain -


Year Team Salary
2019 WAS $38,333,334
2018 WAS $18,333,333
2017 WAS $18,333,333
2016 WAS $10,400,000
2015 WAS $7,400,000
2014 WAS $3,975,000
2013 WAS $3,900,000
2012 WAS $4,875,000
2011 WAS $4,375,000
2010 WAS $3,875,000
9 yrPrevious$75,466,666
10 yrPvs + Cur$113,800,000
10 yrTotal$113,800,000


Service TimeAgentContract Status
8 y 118 dBoras Corp.2020

  • 2020
  • 7 years/$175M (2017-23). Signed extension with Washington 5/10/16. $10M signing bonus to be paid 7/1/19. 17:$15M, 18:$15M, 19:$35M, 20:$25M, 21:$15M, 22:$15M, 23:$45M. $70M deferred without interest ($30M in 2019, $10M in 2020, $30M in 2023), paid in seven $10M installments each July 1, 2024-30, reducing contract's present-day value to about $162M. Strasburg may opt out of contract after 2019 and 2020 seasons: With opt-out after 2019, $30M in deferred 2019 salary to be paid in three $10M installments each July 1, 2020-22. With opt-out after 2020, $40M in deferred 2019-20 salaries to be paid in four $10M installments each July 1, 2021-24. Annual performance bonus: $1M each for 180 innings pitched. Limited no-trade protection beginning with 2017 season (Strasburg to earn right to reject any trade as 10-and-5 player in May, 2020). Largest-ever contract for pitcher after Tommy John surgery. Strasburg exercised right to opt out of contract 11/2/19.
  • 1 year/$10.4M (2016). Re-signed by Washington 1/15/16 (avoided arbitration).
  • 1 year/$7.4M (2015). Re-signed by Washington 1/16/15 (avoided arbitration).
  • 1 year/$3.975M (2014). Re-signed by Washington 1/11/14 (avoided arbitration).
  • 4 years/$15.1M (2009-12). $7.5M signing bonus. Signed Major League contract with Washington 8/17/09. 09:$0.4M (pro-rated to $0.1M), 10:$2M, 11:$2.5M, 12:$3M. If not eligible for arbitration after 2012 season, 2013 salary is $3.9M. Award bonuses. Optioned to Double-A 3/20/10. Recalled 6/8/10.
  • Drafted by Washington 2009 (1-1) (San Diego State).

2019 Preseason Forecast

Last Update: 1/27/2017 12:35 ET

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BP Annual Player Comments

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BP Articles

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BP Chats

2019-11-07 14:00:00 (link to chat)How should the Nationals prioritize their 2 big FA decisions? Can they afford both Strasburg and Rendon?
(sportsguy21792 from Madison)
They absolutely can afford both Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon, as can any team. Are they willing to pay both Strasburg and Rendon, though, is an entirely different question. If I were them, I'd prioritize the position player, but if they pick one, I have a feeling they keep the World Series MVP. (Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch)
2016-12-08 23:00:00 (link to chat)Who has the best chance to pitch 200 IP this season? Gerritt Cole, Stephen Strasburg, or Yu Darvish?
(Jeff from MN)
Fish-shootin' in a dark barrel, this one. I'll go with Darvish, just because he's on the other side of his TJ. He logged over 125 last year between rehab and the bigs, and the Rangers aren't exactly fond of pitch counts/limits. Cole and especially Stras are terrifying.

I watched Rhiannon Giddens tear UP the Kennedy Center feting Bill Murray a little while ago, and I've been enamored with her voice ever since. Don't love some of the too-clean production value on some of her recorded stuff, but some of these live nuggets floating around the interwebs? Woo child... (Wilson Karaman)
2016-03-28 13:00:00 (link to chat)As a scout what are the top 5 things that you look for?
(Matt from Albuquerque)
This is a great question, though it has a lot of nuance to it. It's probably best for a podcast.

However, I didn't want to let it go. Let's simplify it: 'what are you looking for in a PITCHING prospect.'

I'm always hoping that a prospect can be a starting pitcher. The types of relievers that I'll look at currently at the amateur level are almost always from the college ranks. It's bad business to pick high school relievers. So let's presume we're looking for a starting pitcher. In order for that to happen, I will look first at:

1. Body Type--does this guy have the durability to maintain his stuff and delivery every fifth day? Throughout a season? Throughout an outing?

2. Delivery--Does the delivery add or subtract from the aforementioned durability? Is it low-effort? Does it have injury red flags? Does it allow control and command--especially with non-fastballs?

3. Ability to throw secondary pitches for strikes--This is CRITICAL for me to really like a guy as a starter. At the MLB level, you have to (have to have to have to) be able to alter your sequences to big league hitters the second and third times through a lineup. Regardless of how hard you throw, one of the first scouts who really took me under their wing when I was 19 once told me: 'Big league hitters could time a bullet if they saw a gun shot over the heart of the plate enough times.' That stuck with me. You can't just be a fastball guy and expect to have top-rotation success at the big league level, ESPECIALLY as a right-handed starter.

4. Velocity--It isn't that it's not important, but I do think it's LESS important than feel to pitch, change speeds, and move different pitches around the zone. I will say that this order (control of secondaries ahead of velocity) is more for a STARTING pitcher than a reliever. If you're a reliever, part of the reason why is you don't have to face hitters more than once. As such, you CAN go at them aggressively with raw arm-strength. Not so much so if you're a starter and you want to make it past the 6th every fifth day.

5. Competitive fire--Yeah, this is a little 'scouty' of me. I know. I know. However, I'm a DC native and I've seen Stephen Strasburg for years. I think Stephen Strasburg is more TALENTED than almost any pitcher in baseball. However, you know why I think he's more of a first-division #2 starter than at true #1 ace on any team? That fire isn't there. There is VERY limited difference in terms of stuff and execution between a #1 and a #2 these days. Both of those ceilings immediately make you a tippy-top prospect everywhere you go. However, I really think the difference, therefore, lies much more in the ability to really go out there to BEAT the other club singlehandedly. Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Bob Gibson--these guys went out there to beat your ass like it was a 0-0 ballgame, regardless of score. A true #1 starter has an attribute that can't be quantified. (Adam McInturff)
2015-12-15 14:00:00 (link to chat)Is Lucas Giolito going to be everything we all wanted Stephen Strasburg to be? Strasburg hasn't (yet) taken the leap to transcedent talent - could Giolito be that good?
(Shawn from Cubicle)
I feel like Strasburg has been a lot better than given credit for, but, yes. Giolito is the best pitching prospect in baseball. It isn't that close. (Christopher Crawford)
2015-05-26 19:00:00 (link to chat)so i have seen you and that one guy from that one site (half-hartedly) discussing a Kershaw trade. what is (are) the biggest trade(s) that have gone down in a Tout or Labr league?
(jonraypyle from tx)
It's really hard to trade in expert leagues, in part because nobody wants to be seen as losing on a deal. I traded Hanley Ramirez in 2013 for two starting pitchers. Fred Zinkie of MLB is the big wheeler dealer in LABR, and he made a big deal this year where he traded Andrew McCutchen, Stephen Strasburg, Asdrubal Cabrera and R.A. Dickey for Michael Brantley and Madison Bumgarner. (Mike Gianella)
2015-03-03 13:00:00 (link to chat)Is this the year Stephen Strasburg will challenge for a Cy Young award?
(RelDel from Miami)
Sure, this year, next year, the year after... as long as he can throw as hard as he can and muster up a few decent secondary pitches, he has a shot at the Cy Young. I have no special knowledge that would predispose me to believe that this year will be any different.

The thing is, he's a really good pitcher. Beyond having that one characteristic, there's no other special talent that allows one to win a Cy Young, besides a healthy dose of luck. (Rob Arthur)
2015-02-06 13:00:00 (link to chat)This last season I watched a ton of Stephen Strasburg outings and I started to winder if the dominance of his offspeed stuff made his fastball more hittable. That is to say, as hitters realize just how ridiculous his curve and changeup are, they guess fastball almost all the time, which is why when he gets hit hard, it's off the fastball. When he was throwing 98, most guys were still screwed even if they guess fastball, but at 95 lots of guys have at least a chance. He's still great, but 78% of the HRs he gave up last season were on the FB, which was only 57 of his pitches. Any credence to this theory?
(Charlie from NatsReview)
fastball counts = biggers swings = more HRs, so careful in reading those numbers.

I don't imagine big league hitters totally give up on pitches like that. Strasburg is elite, and doesn't get hit hard often. When he does, I bet it's when he's fallen behind and fills the zone with four-seamers. If there's something else going on, maybe, otherwise I suspect this is just normal.
And, on face, the notion of having two plus secondary offerings being a potential weakness is hard to embrace. That would require extraordinary evidence, and, at first blush, I don't see it.
All that said, he may be doing something sub-optimal, sequencing etc, so I would suggest you dive deeper, look by count, and see what pops up. (Harry Pavlidis)
2014-09-25 13:00:00 (link to chat)As my 12-team, 5x5 roto season winds to a close, I need some keeper help. We keep six from year to year and here are the potentials: Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, Mike Trout (obviously), Troy Tulowitzki, Anthony Rizzo, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Nolan Arenado I have Tulo, Rendon, Trout, Rizzo, Scherzer and Stras as my six. Would you choose them? Thanks for the help!
(Jake from Minneapolis)
I'd try to find a way to keep Donaldson and deal one of the pitchers, if I could. 28 bombs from 3B isn't anything to sneeze at, plus it allows you to play Rendon at 2B next year. Pitching is everywhere. (Craig Goldstein)
2014-04-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)Stephen Strasburg's new slider looks pretty good, but I see him still missing with his fastball -- more often to the arm side. What's your sense of his control these days?
(Dan Rozenson from Washington, DC)
Completely agree, Dan. I don't like that Strasburg's balance and posture have gone backwards over the last couple of years, and the downslide is having an adverse effect on his command. That slider could be a huge advantage this year, but everything plays off of the fastball and his rise will be dictated by the ability to harness the heat. The arm-side misses are also indicative of timing issues, in which his arm is behind the rest of the kinetic chain, and his situation is not aided by the new wrinkles that he has introduced with runners on base.

On the jukebox: Thrice, "The Artist in the Ambulance" (Doug Thorburn)
2014-04-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)Among the pitchers showing early losses/gains in velocity, it seems like the media has pounced on Jonathan Papelbon even though the numbers show him to be throwing the same (mediocre) stuff as last year. Any other pitcher who you predict could have significant changes in effectiveness based on velocity alone? Too early to worry about Stephen Strasburg missing 1.5 MPH? Will Brandon McCarthy's uptick help him longterm?
(Scott from LA)
Totally agree on Paps. His key is FB command, and 3 innings is not enough to judge where he's at there.

Stras is somewhat worrisome because it comes paired with a weaker mechanical foundation than in the past. Low velo's are common in April, and I was very encouraged by the overall jump in velo in his last start compared to his outing on Opening Day (nearly +2 mph). It's too early to jump off the bridge, but there is some mechanical basis to calm our previously-held enthusiasm.

McCarthy's uptick is encouraging, though more kinetic energy in the system could be a double-edged sword for a player whose scapula doesn't hold under the rigors of pitching, so the question of "long term" is still wide open.

On the jukebox: Colin Hay, "Overkill" (Doug Thorburn)
2014-03-27 13:00:00 (link to chat)NL Only league H2H Categories Who Wins Trade Jean Segura and Matt Latos for Stephen Strasburg and CJ Edwards - Ed
(slvrdrgn3381 from IL)
I'd take Segura and Latos. Edwards is a ways off and there are questions about his ability to stick in the rotation. Maybe I'm too risk averse. (R.J. Anderson)
2014-03-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Any thoughts on Jeff Hoffman's struggles this year? I remember Gerrit Cole was another guy that didn't dominate the way people expected in college, but obviously he figured things out. So I guess this is a two part question: your thoughts on Hoffman, and why some pitchers don't seem to put it all together until the majors.
(Riley from Minnesota)
Hoffman will be fine. I'll bet we've forgotten all about this by May. I'm still very much looking forward to him coming to town in late April.

As for pitchers, it's a tricky thing. Some guys are literally too good for the college game, in that their strengths don't really matter to college hitters. For instance, a pitcher with an upper-90's fastball and a good changeup actually does himself a disservice against most college hitters to throw them the changeup. It may be his best pitch, but college hitters can hit it when they can't hit 97. Good pitchers like Cole or Hoffman (I'm being hypothetical here) will throw their good stuff anyway but sometimes it ends up getting them hit. That's why Stephen Strasburg dominated in college. He had the changeup, but he rarely used it. It was just 99,98,99,100, big freaking curveball, strike three. Most pitchers don't do that, however. They throw what they have and sometimes it costs them, but they are better pitchers for it in the long run. (Jeff Moore)
2014-02-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)At this point in time, do you see Stephen Strasburg as a different kind of health risk than your average 25 year-old toeing the rubber?
(doog7642 from Blaine, MN)
The fact that he throws so hard inherently adds to his injury risk. He also suffers from occasional elbow drag, particularly when fatigued, due to the combination of heavy scapular loading, inverted-W, and delayed trunk rotation. When he delays his rotation too long, the arm lags behind and over-stresses the elbow. Throw in the fact that he already has a TJS on his resume, and that the biggest predictor for injury is previous injury, and I would say that his risk is higher than the avg 25-year-old.

That said, I'm still buying. His stuff is that good, and when his timing is right, his mechanics are elite. What worries me is that his posture took a turn for the worse last season with exaggerated spine-tilt (a precursor to shoulder injury), so here's hoping that he can rectify that element in 2014. (Doug Thorburn)
2013-12-20 14:00:00 (link to chat)What are your views on Lucas Giolito? Can he be better than Stephen Strasburg?
(Mlbeastmode from St. Louis)
The hype on Giolito is skyrocketing right now, but I am not yet on board, and he has a long way to go before gaining Strasburg comps. Don't get me wrong, I dig the stuff, but he has an extremely slow delivery into foot strike, after which he just explodes with unheard-of ferocity. I don't think that he uses his lower half well enough to maintain efficiency and high workloads at the highest level, and the short-ish stride is also working against him.

On the jukebox: Lagwagon, "Bury the Hatchet" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-12-20 14:00:00 (link to chat)Will Stephen Strasburg ever turn out to be the world beater everyone thought he would be, or do his injuries/mechanics limit him to just being very good? Have we already seen his peak?
(Aidan from SoCal)
I actually think that Stras' mechanics are awesome, and only when he becomes fatigued does it become an issue - basically his function is top notch, but he has some weak links in the kinetic chain when fatigue compromises the system. I also think that "world beater" is subjective - the guy had a ridiculous K rate above 30% in 2012, and though it slipped to 26% last season, it was by design. The Nats vastly prefer pitch-count efficiency over excessive strikeout totals - just ask Jordan Zimmermann - and in the case of Stras it is particularly critical given the issue of fatigue with respect to his mechanical risk factors. I'll take the 3 ERA and K-per-inning every day of the week and twice on Sunday, and the Nats don't really care if my fantasy team is a little disappointed. I am not ready to say that we have seen his peak, but if we have, then it is more a reflection of just how crazy-good he was pre-surgery than any indictment of his current skills.

On the jukebox: Guns N' Roses, "Mr. Brownstone" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-10-30 12:00:00 (link to chat)What is the story with Royals SP John Lamb - anything left there or is he now the other side of the TJ surgery story?
(Dave from Boulder)
Hard to say. His results haven't been impressive and that includes his time in the Arizona Fall League. TJ surgery as much as it's old hat to fans and analysts, isn't a sure thing. That's a big part of the reason it's so sad to lose guys like Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg to TJS. We lose a year (or more) of their career, yes, and that's awful for all involved, but what happens when they step back on a mound? We don't know. We can guess, and often that guess is correct, but sometimes it's wrong. Hopefully that's not the case with Lamb. We'll see. (Matthew Kory)
2013-09-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)How many PA or IP do you think a player should get before we call them a good player or not?
(Rick from Tampa)
It depends on what we already know about that player, right? If it's Stephen Strasburg, maybe 30 innings? If it's Michael Fiers, maybe 350 innings? Depends on age, depends on track record, etc. Who do you have in mind? I'll tell you if he's good! (Sam Miller)
2013-08-12 14:00:00 (link to chat)Given what you just said about Mark Prior, I take it you don't buy into the theory about the "Inverted W" and improper scapular loading and such as being a problem, that many people point to with guys like Prior, Stephen Strasburg and others?
(Ashitaka from Houston)
I do buy into the Inverted W and scapular loading, to the extent that it contributes to elbow drag, but I don't think that those isolated factors can be solely to blame for injury. That said, elbow drag is a major injury precursor and is the result of multiple indicators; these include the I-W, scap loading, and excessive delay of trunk rotation (late arm). Prior actually had all 3, so the potential for elbow drag was definitely there, but his efficiency and repetition of timing was so incredible that he rarely created elbow drag. I know this because he was an NPA guy, and I have spent countless hours studying his delivery with high-speed motion capture (prepare to throw barbs of bias!), and I have observed how hard he has worked to maintain his physical prowess.

In his case, there are just way too many other variables staring us in the face to blame an inverted W for his problems, and the population of baseball enthusiasts have gone backwards in the understanding of mechanics because of the insistence that Prior was mechanically flawed.

On the jukebox: Thrice, "The Artist in the Ambulance" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-05-02 13:00:00 (link to chat)From today forward, better career: Stephen Strasburg or Clayton Kershaw?
(AJ from Phoenix)
Strasburg for me, but obviously very close. I love everything about Kershaw. (Jason Cole)
2013-04-30 12:00:00 (link to chat)What do you make of Stephen Strasburg's early season "struggles"? Maybe I'm expecting to much, but ignoring his first start, his control has diminished, his velocity is down, could this all be related to the forearm tightness or is it his desire to pitch to contact.
(Adrian from Washington D.C.)
I saw that he was all over the place last night. The characteristics mention seem to go better with a physical issue than anything. I guess it's possible he's overthinking on the mound and that's causing issues but that seems less likely to me. The pitch to contact mentality is less about avoiding strikeouts and more about avoiding walks. You want to challenge hitters and avoid nibbling in fear of someone hitting the ball. It comes down to trusting yourself. Besides, Strasburg has enormous raw stuff that's going to miss bats and rack up Ks regardless of whether he's trying to induce early contact or not. (R.J. Anderson)
2013-02-19 13:00:00 (link to chat)In your opinion, which SP has the best "stuff" in the majors?
(Shawn from CT)
Oh, I don't think you can go wrong saying "Stephen Strasburg." (Ben Lindbergh)
2013-03-01 13:00:00 (link to chat)Thanks for the chat Doug! I'm a big fan and look forward to the SP guide with your input. I would like to know if you look for specific mechanic flaws for pitchers post TJ or other surgery. i.e. John Lamb or Danny Duffy.
(jimcal from Seattle)
When looking at post-surgery pitchers, what I pay attention to differs based on the conditions of their injury. If the guy had solid mechanics before getting hurt - but fell due to workloads, structural integrity, or other conditions - then I just look to see how far away he is from regaining his previous delivery. But if there was an underlying mechanical flaw, then I look to see if any adjustments have been made to correct the problem.

Stephen Strasburg is a good example. I loved his mechanics before the injury, though he did have the trifecta of inverted-W + heavy scapular load + delayed trunk rotation that leads to elbow drag (particularly when fatigued). I am a big fan of his delivery now, but in my opinion he is still just 90-95% of the way back to his pre-injury levels. But the Nats were smart to shut him down last season, given the risk factors inherent in his motion plus the additional risk when he gets fatigued.

On the jukebox: Audioslave, "Like a Stone" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-01-02 13:00:00 (link to chat)Happy New Year! In trying to access Diamond Scape Scouting, I'm running into a lot of 404 error pages. FYI. Anyway can you give the OFP grades you gave to Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Taijuan Walker, and Jose Fernandez? Thanks!
(AJ from Phoenix)
Hi AJ! Yes, DSS was taken off line when I decided to take the scouting services to private clients. The plan is still to bring it back online with a portion of the draft stuff available to readers (though Baseball Prospectus will really be where the writing is done). Here are the OFP rankings assigned to these players by DSS -- as a word of warning, this will help you see how I comparatively viewed the players at draft time, but the scale shouldn't really be projected against what Jason and the prospect team has doing with the Prospect Lists:
Strasburg - 64/67
Cole - 62/63
Gausman - 59/62
Bundy - 58/62
Taillon - 57/61
Fernandez - 55/57
Walker - 52/56 (Nick Faleris)
2012-11-08 13:00:00 (link to chat)Since someone brought the MASN thing up, how much longer will we have to wait until we see a deal? Part 2 - this is taking way too long to resolve, is this just a little bit of business as usual, or are the Orioles/Angelos really being divisive on this issue?
(comish4lif from Alexandria, VA)
No, this one is a tough, tough deal. The Nationals have the right to do what's called a "reset" on their end of the MASN deal every five years. Word is, the Nats are seeking $100 million, mostly because of their ability to be competitive in the standings this year, and therefore, increased interest. The problem is, the Orioles also get a "reset". See my article from June. Here's a snippet:

Currently, the Nats pull in $29 million in the D.C. market that is eighth in terms of Designated Market Area (2,360,180 television homes) and are looking for a sizeable bump in rights fees as part of a clause in their agreement that allows for what is called a "reset." In that arrangement, the Nationals can opt to get a bump in the fee in the middle of the broadcast agreement, and it's here that things get messy.

The Nationals point to the deals that the Rangers, Angels, and Padres are getting; the increased ratings bump this year due to better play on the field; Stephen Strasburg's return; and the excitement around the Bryce Harper call-up. Put it all together, and the Nationals would like to see $100 million annually, or a $71 million annual bump for the next five years. The problem is that these "resets" are tied to the Orioles as a partner in the MASN framework. In other words, if the Nationals get a reset, so do the Orioles, and you can do the math: if the Nats get $100 million, the Orioles will want the same, and now MASN has to kick out $200 million annually.

On the other side of the coin, MASN isn't really seeing things the same way as the Nationals. Fine, the Nationals want a bump, but the increase should be more like $35 million based on how ratings have been in the past and their low attendance. As of Saturday, the Nationals were averaging 29,482 per game, ranking 15th out of the 30 clubs in terms of attendance. The Nats pulled in a 24,877 for the 2011 season, 22,568 in 2010, and 22,715 for 2009 by average attendance.
(Maury Brown)
2012-10-23 13:00:00 (link to chat)Professor Parks, With the season-long hubub of Stephen Strasburg's successful return from injury, I recall the sad case of Mark Prior and his derailed career. The popular party line when Prior was actually a good pitcher was that "all the scouts say he has perfect mechanics". Now that he's been released from his 5th (?) organization, there are plenty of people who look back and readily point out some pretty substantial problems with Prior's mechanics. Problems that, you would think, are now so obvious that it's curious that anyone at the time would have claimed Prior was so mechanically sound when he was not. So this begs a couple of questions. Did we all just hear what we wanted to hear and nobody who really mattered in baseball was actually saying that Prior's mechanics were sound? Or did scouts and industry professionals really just miss the mark so badly? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle, and the consensus in the industry is that Prior was in the same boat as many other pitchers in having a few flaws, but they didn't want to change him (because that's easier said than done) and he was just unlucky in being hit hard by the same injury bug that gets many other pitchers? And lastly, are there any lessons in the Prior story that can be applied to Strasburg? Maybe the lesson with him is that few people not named Greg Maddux have perfect mechanics, lots of pitchers get hurt, and we need to stop freaking out about them before or after the fact?
(Erik from Longwood, FL)
Every pitcher is different. You can look at bad mechanics and raise the red flag, and then watch that pitcher throw 200 innings a year without an issue. Arm injuries happen, and pitchers break for a variety of reasons, and more often than not, our injury projections aren't on the same level as our tool projections. It has to be player specific. Some pitchers just make it work, while others can look clean and effortless and then the arm explodes and lands in the fourth row on the lap of a crying child. What caused it? Was it bad mechanics after all? Was it the result of overwork? I'm not fond of the mechanical revisionists who cry foul after the fact. It's easy to be right when you don't have to worry about being wrong. (Jason Parks)
2012-09-19 13:00:00 (link to chat)All this hoopla has gone on regarding inning limitations to Stephen Strasburg, due to his TJS. Why has noone wondered or shown any concern about the White Sox SP Chris Sale? First full year since college as a SP(big innings leap), thin body-frame and worrisome mechanics? Should we pencil Sale for labrum or TJS surgery in next 2-4 years?
(jlarsen from chicagoland)
Frankly, if there's any team I'd trust when it comes to pitcher injuries, it's the White Sox, as my colleague Ben Lindbergh has noted before: (Colin Wyers)
2012-06-29 13:00:00 (link to chat)Do you think that the Nationals can keep up their winning? Or will they become just another average team?
(Luis from Richmond)
I do think they can keep up their winning, as their record is essentially in line with their peripheral factors; their actual winning percentage (.581) and Hit List Factor (.580) are both tops in the league, and right in line with each other.

That said, they're likely going to have to do something about Stephen Strasburg late in the year, whether they hew to a hardline stance regarding his innings total or play it by ear. With Chien-Ming Wang turning into a pumpkin, they'll eventually need a reinforcement for that rotation, somebody better than the farmed-out John Lannan. (Jay Jaffe)
2012-05-21 14:00:00 (link to chat)Who are the best pitchers in baseball in 2017?
(John from Pittsburgh)
Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. (Kevin Goldstein)
2012-01-30 13:00:00 (link to chat)I was in Politics and Prose this weekend (ok I was in the pizza joint down the block) and was wondering if you guys would be making it down there again soon. Also, do you see the Nats rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez being one of the top in the league in the next few years?
(Charlie from Bethesda, MD)
We will definitely be there in March, and I know many of us are looking forward to it. As for the Nats' top three, it's an impressive bunch and I'd like to think they will be (or are) among the top in the league right now, but with pitchers it's always good to hedge your bets a little. (Steven Goldman)
2011-12-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)A healthy Stephen Strasburg with the CY next year? True or false?
(Burt from Canada)
Doubt he gets to throw the 225 innings or so he would need to. (Sam Miller)
2011-10-04 13:00:00 (link to chat)So you're saying Matt Moore and Clayton Kershaw were both better prospects than Stephen Strasburg?
(Charlie from Bethesda)
No, I'm not saying that. Strasburg is in his own class. Just using a lefty as the comp. (Jason Parks)
2011-02-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)What does a Nats fan have to look forward to in 2011 with Stephen Strasburg out and Bryce Harper in the minors?
(Frank from Arlington)
KG's prospect reports, Baseball America articles, and Ryan Zimmerman will be the highlights. (Ken Funck)
2010-12-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)How would you handle Stephen Strasburg when he comes back Tommy John surgery? Does he pitch at all in 2011? Is he in the bullpen in 2012 or just limited pitch counts in his starts that year?
(James from DC)
If possible, get him to throw a bit at the end of 2011. I have read numerous reports that athletes really like using those final games of a season to pitch after coming back from an injury. In basketball, it would help someone like Amare Stoudemire learn to trust his knees in actual NBA action, just like Strasburg would be able to get accustomed to pitching in the majors without the pressure of starting a new season without having pitched in a major league game. Even if it's something psychological and not easily measured, it seems to be important. (Eric Seidman)
2010-08-09 13:00:00 (link to chat)Your thoughts on Stephen Strasburg's performance this year? I understand that you want to be careful with a propsect of this caliber, and that you don't want the guy's arm to fall off. But at what point will you ever feel comfortable letting him loose? The Nats have been EXTREMELY careful with his arm and he still had to spend two weeks on the DL.
(spf from oak park, il)
Had the Nationals been playing relevant baseball games, though, they probably would have handled him differently. It makes no sense putting a load on a pitcher's arm in a lost season. In 2011, 2012, the equation should be different, the risks and rewards different. In 2010, there's no point. (Joe Sheehan)
2010-07-29 16:30:00 (link to chat)With Stephen Strasburg being placed on the DL, how much do you foresee the Nationals limiting his innings pitched? They already had him on a super duper innings/pitch count watch, what kind of effect will a shoulder injury have on a prospect like this?
(John from Washington)
They are being very, very cautious with him, as they should be. I could still see them letting him reach 160 innings, but there's no sense in pushing him too hard. The sellouts are nice, but you gotta figure they'll look a lot better when the Nats are competing for a division title and their selling out the four games after he starts too. (Matt Swartz)
2010-05-25 13:00:00 (link to chat)Which of the following prospects will "miraculously" be deemed ready for the majors in a week or so: Carlos Santana, Pedro Alvarez, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, Desmond Jennings?
(tommybones from brooklyn)
Stephen Strasburg, for sure. (John Perrotto)
2010-05-25 13:00:00 (link to chat)After yesterday's quote by Steve Phillips that he'd trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt, if he were the Nats, does this basically eliminate himself for returning to any real prominent job around baseball as a GM or analyst?
(jlarsen from Chicago)
You never say never but I don't see him being a GM again. As far as an analyst, you never know because there are a lot of people in prominent jobs who makes statements just as dumb as that one. (John Perrotto)
2010-05-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)Sir, request permission to be excited about my Nationals in spite of the fact that your models still rate them as second rate, SIR!
(HalfStreet from Fairfax VA)
You have every reason to be excited. It's not that I think the Nationals can continue along as bona fide contenders, but it's clear at this point that they've turned the page on the Jim Bowden-assembled joke, and with the arrivals of Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen to look forward to in the near future, they're going to become even more interesting. Enjoy it for what it is, by all means. (Jay Jaffe)
2010-04-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)In 5 years, which Nationals pitcher has had the better career, Stephen Strasburg, or Drew Storen?
(Noah Braun from my house)
Strasburg. Is there really anyone who thinks differently? (Kevin Goldstein)
2010-03-23 16:30:00 (link to chat)Should teams question their scouts when they ignore a talent like Stephen Strasburg in high school ? It boogles my mind that he didn'thave any plus pitches in high school.
(William from Mobile, AL)
I think teams should always question their scouts just like they should question all information, but some people just break out later. I would guess Strasburg just broke out later than other pitchers. There is no surefire scouting method that always works. (Matt Swartz)

BP Roundtables

DateRoundtable NameComment
2010-04-05 09:30:00Season Opener RoundtableMatt Ryan (San Diego): More likely to happen next year: Stephen Strasburg winning the Cy Young, or the Padres winning the west?

Strasburg. Granted, he has to compete with the likes of Halladay, Lincecum, Haren, Oswalt, Santana, Wainwright, Carpenter...(you get the picture), but the Padres don't have the immediate firepower to overtake a team like the Rockies, especially if they deal their greatest offensive weapon, Adrian Gonzalez. (Steph Bee)
2010-04-05 09:30:00Season Opener Roundtable"Jake Green (LA): In 2015, who will be the best pitcher of the three? Tim Lincecum, Stephen Strasburg, or Aroldis Chapman?"

Good question. Today I'll go with Tiny Tim, since he's the proven quantity and I'm notoriously risk averse. Ask again in September, though, and you might well get a different answer. (Ken Funck)
2010-04-05 09:30:00Season Opener Roundtable"Jake Green (LA): In 2015, who will be the best pitcher of the three? Tim Lincecum, Stephen Strasburg, or Aroldis Chapman"

I really don't know how to answer these kinds of questions, to be honest. The analytical part of my brain kicks in and says that the margin of error on this sort of thing vastly swamps the difference between them in talent.

So if you're sending in these questions and I'm not picking them, please don't feel slighted. I just honestly don't have a good answer for you, and don't feel like giving you a bad answer just to say I did. (Colin Wyers)

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