I guess you could say that love was in the air in San Diego on Friday night.
Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was in attendance Friday when Stephen Strasburg tossed a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts in San Diego State’s game against Air Force. Strasburg walked just two in the game won by the Aztecs 5-0. A record crowd of 3373 watched the final regular season game that Strasburg will likely pitch at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
In the 2009 season, Strasburg has averaged 17 strikeouts per nine innings. He has an 11-0 record and a 1.24 ERA. His 164 strikeouts led the nation, by far. Opponents are hitting a combined .161 against him…with aluminum bats.
Strasburg has annihilated his college opponents with little emotion. One scout said he looks like he’s grocery shopping on the mound. “I don’t think he realizes what’s happening,” said his mom Kathy Swett. “He’s still finishing his schoolwork. He has finals. He’s getting his assignments in.”
Some scouts have declared Strasburg ready to be a No. 1 or No. 2 big league starter now; both Rizzo and Gwynn disagree, believing his game will have to change at the next level.
“He’s still got some learning to do,” Gwynn said. “He would have some success, but I’ve said all along that he will have to throw more balls over the plate at the next level.”
“If the draft was today, he’d be our guy. But the draft is a month from now, so a lot of things can happen,” said Rizzo. “Guys can turn up their intensity and their performance, a lot of things can happen in a month. But if it was today, he’d be our guy.”
Yeah, right. Barring a major injury, how can Strasburg NOT be your guy. The Nationals, still burning from the loss of Mark Texeira, need to put fans in the seats and Strasburg, the most hyped college player perhaps in history, is the man to do that. Washington just needs to find out a way to make a deal with super agent Scott Boras.
Boras has already hinted that the 6-foot-5, 220-pound 20-year-old will want a record-breaking salary — about six years and $50 million. Negotiations between Boras and Washington could last all summer which makes it difficult to use a fantasy baseball roster spot now for Strasburg. If you are in a keeper fantasy baseball league, however, I’d pony up for Strasburg right now.
Pitchers like Strasburg don’t come along that often.