- Full name Stephen James Strasburg
- Born 07/20/1988 in San Diego, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 239 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School San Diego State
- Debut 06/08/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (1st overall) by the Washington Nationals in 2009 (signed for $7,500,000).
View Draft ReportIn the history of the draft, no prospect has received as much predraft hype and publicity as Strasburg--and the attention is warranted. His combination of stuff, pitching savvy and command make him a once-in-a-generation phenomenon. Between spreads in national magazines, television features and glowing articles in major newspapers, Strasburg has had a stunning junior season for the Aztecs. A relatively low-profile recruit, he has improved by leaps and bounds both physically and mentally as a college player. He closed as a freshman and BA ranked him as the New England Collegiate League's No. 1 prospect in 2007, and he emerged as a dominant starter in 2008, highlighted by a 23-strikeout effort against Utah. He pitched both for USA Baseball's college national team and then on the Olympic team last summer, the lone amateur ever to win a spot on a pro Team USA roster. He lost to Cuba in the Olympic semifinal, and that's the last time he has lost a game. His 2009 statistics defy belief for a player competing at the major college level. After a no-hitter against Air Force, he was 11-0, 1.24, with 164 strikeouts against 17 walks in 87 innings. He had allowed just 48 hits this season, for a .161 opponent average. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Strasburg grabs your attention first with his sensational raw velocity. In his first start of the season, his first six pitches registered 98-99 mph, and he touched 100 and 101 later in the season. Of course, raw velocity is no guarantee of major league success, but Strasburg has much more than that. His hard, slurvy curveball is an 81-82 mph hitter's nightmare. Not since Tim Lincecum has one hurler had both the best fastball and the best curve in the same draft. Represented by Scott Boras Corp., Strasburg will no doubt engage in protracted negotiations, and predraft rumors indicated his demands could go as high as $50 million or that he could try a side trip to Japan to make himself a free agent. Barring something unforeseen, though, he will likely sign right at the Aug. 15 deadline and should command a guarantee in the $12 million-$15 million range. There's no doubt that Strasburg is the best college pitching prospect since Mark Prior came out of Southern California in 2001. Prior's career illustrates that no amateur pitcher is guaranteed long-term professional success, but Strasburg is the closest to a sure thing that scouts have ever seen. Major league organizations may not see a prospect like Strasburg for another 20 or 30 years, so the Nationals will not let him pass with the No. 1 pick.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Strasburg went undrafted out of high school in 2006 because of questions about his conditioning, work ethic and maturity. Three years later, he was the No. 1 overall pick and regarded by many scouts as the best prospect in draft history. Strasburg's transformation began his freshman year, when he worked hard to get into better shape and posted a 2.43 ERA and seven saves out of San Diego State's bullpen. His coming-out party came in the summer of 2007, when he ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the New England Collegiate League and dominated in an exhibition against Team USA. As a sophomore, he struck out 23 batters in a game against Utah on his way to first-team All-America honors, then served as the ace for USA Baseball's collegiate national and Olympics teams that summer. While withstanding a relentless maelstrom of hype and national media attention, Strasburg posted one of the most dominant seasons in college baseball history in 2009, going 13-1, 1.32 with 195 strikeouts and 19 walks in 109 innings to lead the Aztecs to regionals for the first time since 1991 and capture Baseball America's College Player of the Year award. The Nationals drafted Strasburg in spite of agent Scott Boras' proclaimed desire to net Strasburg the largest contract in draft history, and he signed just minutes before the Aug. 17 deadline for a record $15.1 million major league deal, including an unprecedented $7.5 million bonus. Strasburg is a once-in-a-generation talent. His plus-plus fastball sits in the mid- to upper 90s and the Nationals have seen him hit 102 mph. His breaking ball rates as a second plus-plus offering, a power 81-84 mph curveball that he can throw for strikes or use as a chase pitch. Even when he doesn't stay on top of it, it's a tough pitch, becoming more of a hard slider. He also flashes a plus changeup, though he seldom needed the pitch to dominate in college. Strasburg has excellent control with all of his pitches, and he also has very advanced command within the strike zone. He's athletic, physical and durable, and he earns raves for his makeup both on and off the field. The only thing Strasburg doesn't have is pro experience. The general consensus is that there are no red flags in his delivery, as his arm action is fairly loose and he uses his legs well. But it should be noted that there are some within the organization who are concerned that he eventually could break down because he locks out his elbow on his follow through, putting torque on his shoulder. Still, even those with reservations say they wouldn't tinker with his mechanics. Strasburg got his first taste of pro ball in the Arizona Fall League, where he topped out at 98 mph in his first outing and posted a 4.26 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 16 innings. He tweaked his left knee while shagging flies at the end of the AFL season, but the injury wasn't serious. Strasburg figures to compete for a job in the major league rotation in spring training, and he might never throw a pitch in the minors, though Washington might also choose to ease him into pro ball with an assignment to Double-A or Triple-A. He projects as a true No. 1 starter and a Cy Young Award winner, and anything less will be a disappointment.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Washington Nationals in 2010
- Rated Best Curveball in the Washington Nationals in 2010
- Rated Best Fastball in the Washington Nationals in 2010