Sunday marked the debut of two future fantasy baseball superstars.
Stephen Strasburg made his long awaited debut for the Harrisburg Senators in front of a standing-room only crowd of 7,877 in Altoona. Strasburg pitched 5 innings and struckout 8 Curve hitters (I wonder if they swung at “curves”?). Strasburg also gave up 4 hits, walked 2, and had 1 earned run and 4 runs allowed.
Strasburg started slow, but then began to dominate. At one point, he retired 7 straight Altoona hitters; 5 were by strikeout. His second inning was 8 pitches–all strikes. One of his sliders caused a Curve hitter to back out of the box, only to see the pitch nip the corner and an embarrassing third strike.
Strasburg, who signed for $7.5 million plus 4 years at $15.1 million during the off-season out of San Diego State, hit 100 MPH at least once on the radar gun.
Another professional debut was made by Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, pitching for the Louisville Bats against the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, pitched 4 2/3, yielding 5 hits, 1 walk, and 1 earned run.
Chapman, who signed with the Reds for 6 years and $30.25 million, pitched in front of 5,642. Chapman won out on the MPH gun as he hit 101 during the outing.
Superstars in the Minors
If you’re wondering why the Nationals and Reds would pay so much for these young flame throwers and then send them to God-forsaken places like Harrisburg, it’s simple. Money.
Since 1990, baseball’s collective bargaining agreement has included this provision. If a team keeps a player in the minors for at least 20 days at the start of the season, it can delay his free agency for an entire year. Sounds like sound economics to me.
And, it isn’t just the Nationals who are forfeiting the here and now for the then and later, perhaps much to the chagrin of your fantasy baseball team.
Cleveland’s top prospect is catcher Carlos Santana. He’s singing his tune in the minors. San Francisco’s catching phenom, Buster Posey is picking flowers in the minors. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is in exile in the minors.
Expect these guys to enter the fantasy baseball fray in June. Pick them up in your first reserve draft if they are still available.
Your fantasy baseball team doesn’t have the same economic concerns.