This Stephen Strasburg kid might live up to the hype.
He's been pitching in the Arizona Fall League, his first extended pro experience, and save for one terrible outing, he's been as good as advertised. The lesson: the further we get away from this season, the better things look for the Nats!
Da Burg went five innings yesterday, giving up one measly run. For the AZ season, he's struck out 17 batters in just 15.1 innings. No other Nats pitcher, save for the injury-shelved Jordan Zimmermann, has that kind of dominance.
MLB.com has installed its PitchFX system at a few parks in the Fall League. This fully tracks each and every pitch from delivery to the plate, measuring speed, spin, rotation, and all sorts of good stuff that show you how well he's pitching.
Yesterday, some were shocked to see Strassy's pitches consistently in the 98-101 range. He even threw as high as 102, according to the system.
But it wasn't just a figment of the computers; he actually was throwing hard, as did another Nats prospect, Drew Storen.
One of the PitchFX analysts summed it up this way:
Stephen Strasburg is proving to be everything he was hyped to be. He throws 101 and sits at 98. He throws sinkers in the upper 90s. His change-up is 90 mph. His curveball has snapping movement and is thrown as hard as most sliders. He's a nightmare for hitters already.
Strasburg is also young and developing. All pitchers have some game-to-game difference in stuff—speed, movement and selection. Surprise may have been the scene of an unusually strong outing. It may be normal for him someday. Whatever it was, the speed wasn't an illusion.
That warm feeling you're feeling inside? That's called optimism, Nats fans. You might recall that strange feeling from before the last few seasons beat it out of you.