The Stephen Strasburg era in Washington got one step closer today when the Nationals promoted the top pitching prospect in the minors to Triple-A Syracuse.
Strasburg, who will make his Triple-A debut on Friday at home against the Gwinnett Braves, has come as advertised since the Nationals made him the No. 1 overall pick last June. Strasburg overpowered Double-A batters in his five starts with Harrisburg, leaving the Eastern League with a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings and a 27-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The other impressive part about Strasburg's performance has been his ability to get grounders, a part of his game he showed in the Arizona Fall League last year as well. Strasburg posted a 2.33-to-1 groundout-to-air out ratio with Harrisburg, which means 70 percent of his outs on balls in play have been groundouts.
So even if a hitter has been fortunate enough to make contact against Strasburg, he hasn't been able to do much damage. It's one reason why the only extra-base hits Strasburg has allowed this year have been a pair of doubles.
If Strasburg pitches as expected, he will likely make four or five starts with Syracuse before getting the call to the big leagues at some point in early June. Given what Jason Heyward has done in Atlanta, it would probably be hard for Strasburg to play catch-up to compete for the National League rookie of the year, but he should be the Nationals' best pitcher immediately upon arrival.
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