UVA 1, Nats 0 - NBC4 Washington

UVA 1, Nats 0

Top prospect no match for Hoo bats

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    OK, maybe he's not the best ever.

    How bad are things going for the Nats?  So bad that their top pitcher lost to a college team.

    OK, so technically Stephen Strasburg isn't quite a Nat yet -- though Ken Rosenthal delivers the non-scoop scoop that they're going to draft him.  And The UVAHoos aren't exactly the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    But with the way things are going for the Nats, it figures that the one time most Nats fans could actually watch him, he gets hit around.

    Strasburg dominated without really looking amazing.  He struck out 15 batters, walked none, but allowed two runs.  One was a homer in the first.  The other was the result of a Danny Cabrera-like wild pitch.

    His fastball was in the 97 mph range (proving again that anyone yammering about 103 mph pitch is a yahoo), and he had a hellacious slider which broke like a sharp 12-6 curveball.  But that was it.  He didn't really throw a third pitch, other than a show-me changeup, which he threw only a handful of times per game.

    Any scout who insisted that he was every bit as good as A.J. Burnett should turn in their scouting card.  Great prospect, yes.  Great pitcher?  Not yet.

    Tom Boswell watched, and had a measured reaction: "He's not on a different level. He's not The Best Pitching Prospect Ever. He's the best one since the last one."

    Boz points out that the top of the Hoo order didn't really have a problem with him, as they went 6 for 18.  Worse, he argues, the No. 9 hitter, a 140-pound freshman, even managed a hit. 

    "You don't pay $50 million, or probably $20 million, for a pitcher who loses a pitching duel to a U-Va. freshman, gives up a long homer, staggers through the first two innings, allows eight hits, looks like a jittery 20-year-old and doesn't knock the bat out of the hands of a 140-pound freshman batting ninth."

    But he's gotta be better than Cabrera, right?

    Chris Needham used to watch Capitol Punishment.  He's looking forward to having the #1 and #1A picks next year.