Strasburg Hype Grows: Baseball’s Newest Wunderkind

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
Stephen Strasburg

Washington Nationals Stephen Strasburg debuted last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates to strike out 14 batters.  It is being called an unprecedented league debut.

"I've been catching a lot of guys," said likely Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, patting Strasburg on the left shoulder, "but this kid is unbelievable."

Last year's No. 1 overall draft pick more than lived up to all the hype coming into this game.

Jayson Stark of writes that what Strasburg accomplished should have been considered impossible.

He's 21 years old. Remember that.

And every pitch he throws, he does it with an imaginary billboard over his head that reads: THE GREATEST PITCHING PROSPECT EVER. Remember that.

So how could anyone -- not just him, but any living, breathing human -- live up to the advance billing on this guy's marquee?

Stark explains further explains the importance of this performance.  He not only struck out 14 guys but had zero walks. Nobody has ever accomplished such a feat in a Major League Baseball debut.  His 14 strikeouts were the third-most by any pitcher in history in a big league debut.  But forget the debuts, only five other pitchers since 1900 have had a 14-strikeout, zero-walk game in ANY game, at any point in their careers, in which they went seven innings or less.

"He's the only guy in baseball," said his teammate, Drew Storen, "who lives up to all the stories you hear."

"The only thing I really remember is the first pitch -- ball inside -- everything else is just such a blur," Strasburg said. "At one point I lost track of how many innings I threw. I was like, 'You know what? I'm just going to go out there and have fun.' It's amazing.

"It's kind of like when you get married and everything, you kind of go into it wanting to remember everything -- and once it's done, you can't remember a single thing."

Strasburg is only one man though and he's probably not going to help the bottom ranked Washington Redskins win a World Series this year.  They are currently 6 games behind Atlanta in the National League East and listed with +7000 odds to win the 2010 World Series, a payout that would be $700 for every $10 bet or $7000 for every $100 bet.

Don Shapiro,   

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