Stephen Strasburg has made a speedier recovery than most fantasy baseball managers had suspected and is now poised to pitch for the Nationals in September. While he won’t lead the Nationals into the World Series, based on his current performance in the Minor Leagues, he should give Nationals fans something to talk about come September. Strasburg could also give Washington a much needed attendance boost in the nation’s capital.
At Class A Potomac, Strasburg made it through three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five. Both of the hits that he allowed were infield singles. The right-hander threw 26 of his 33 pitches for strikes and did not issue a walk. Strasburg was slated to pitch three innings or 50 pitches maximum, but he barely needed half of the allotted amount of pitches to finish his three inning stint. In fact, after finishing the third inning with just 8 pitches, Strasburg simply trotted out to the bullpen to get in his 50 pitch count.
Strasburg consistently hit 98 on the radar gun and topped out at 99 so the velocity is already back. His reactions also appeared to be intact already. On his 33rd pitch, Myrtle Beach Pelican J. R. Higley smoked a comebacker back up the middle; Strasburg snared it and tossed it to first for the final out.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Strasburg will start again on Wednesday (based on scheduling, with Harrisburg and Potomac both on the road, I would guess he will be in Hagerstown), and probably three more times after that, leading up to a season debut in Washington on or about Sept. 6.
There’s no doubt that Strasburg is coming back this year. Manager Davey Johnson has already indicated that he’s put a 160 inning limit on Jordan Zimmerman. That gives Zimmerman about 3 more starts which coincidentally is just about the time that Strasburg is expected to re-join the Nats.
Fantasy baseball managers that own Zimmerman or other young pitchers need to be aware of the relatively new concept of shutting down starting pitchers that have exceeded previous innnings totals this season. There is also talk that pitchers like Michael Pineda may be shut down early.
Fantasy Baseball Dugout Analysis: Stephen Strasburg — Strasburg won’t be rushed with Washington out of the playoff race, but if he continues to make steady progress, he will be able to get in 4 starts in September for the Nationals. If your league counts strikeouts, he’s an especially valuable pickup at this time. Moreover, if your league holds playoffs in September, it’s even more valuable. It’s time to start stashing Stephen Strasburg on your fantasy baseball roster for added value in the last 4 weeks of the season.
For a conflicting opinion, read about Strasburg’s return over at Razzball. Over at RotoHardball, you can even vote for whether you think Strasburg is a must pickup for the remainder of the season or not. Sure, its an interesting internet vote, although no text message voting, but it’s no Baseball’s Hottest Wives vote.
Watch the video of Stephen Strasburg’s second rehab start and judge for yourself.