Stephen Strasburg to the Hall of Fame?

Last night, the 21 year old pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg made his long awaited major league debut for the Washington Nationals and did not disappoint. All the hype that surrounded the #1 overall pick last year was for real, as fans at Nationals park watched a dandy of a performance. Strasburg threw 7 strong innings, where he gave up 4 hits, 2 earned runs off of a Delwyn Young home run, and an astonishing 14 strikeouts on 94 pitches. Strasburg dazzled fans as well as opposing hittersย  with his blazing fastball, knee-buckling curve, and nasty change-up. Albeit was the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 14 strikeouts are one short of the all-time mark of 15 for most strikeouts in a debut. The park was sold out for only the second time all season, and there was also an extra 2000 spots for standing room only. Stephen Strasburg was unbelievable last night, but it begs the question, is Strasburg bound for the Hall of Fame?

Never before has there been so much hype for any player in Major League Baseball. Since the day he was drafted all eyes have been on him. He blazed through the minor leagues, while at the same time drawing sell-out crowds to watch him pitch. Much of what the average fan would have heard about Stephen Strasburg was his ability to break 100 mph mark on the radar gun. But as I said earlier it’s not just his great fastball. It’s his dirty change-up and curve, and his ability to command all 3 pitches like that of a seasoned veteran. Not only did Strasburg strikeout 14 last night, but he also didn’t walk a single batter. Now that’s scary

Because of his awesome stuff, Strasburg has been compared to the likes of Roger Clemens, who is one of the only 16 players a part of the 4000 strikeout club. However, with phenom territory there are always going to be comparisons to the likes of Mark Prior. Prior was also one of the most hyped pitchers of all time. He was called by some “the greatest college pitcher of all time.” Mark Prior was fantastic in his first couple seasons, posting 18 wins with a 2.43 era in only his second season. After that though everything started to go wrong for Prior as he was constantly dogged by arm injuries, eventually leaving the big leagues after only 5 injury plagued season.

With the amount of hype that Strasburg has garnered, anything less than a trip to Cooperstown would be a disappointment. Stephen Strasburg definitely has the makings of a hall of fame pitcher. Not only does he have the pitching tools, but it seems that he’s got it all together mentally. For a 21 year old there could not have been more pressure on Strasburg than what he faced last night in his debut. Not one to show his emotions, Strasburg took the mound with confidence and delivered a performance for the ages. After he struck out his first batter to end the first inning, Strasburg breathed a noticeable sigh of relief. The true test though was when Delwyn Young hit a 2 run bomb off of Strasburg in the 4th inning to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Many young pitchers would have been severely rattled, especially under the circumstances, but not the cool, calm, and collected Stephen Strasburg. He settled down, and just kept mowing down the Pirate hitters. This had to be one of the most encouraging signs for the Nationals organization.

I think that the only thing stopping Stephen Strasburg is his arm. Will his arm hold up and be able to sustain a long and successful career? It seemed that Dwight “Doc” Gooden was Hall of Fame bound, but injuries and drug problems de-railed his career. Strasburg’s mechanics however are immaculate and looks as free and easy out on the mound as it gets. I guess they said that about Prior too. The Nationals are doing their best to protect their most prized possession by slowly bring him up and keeping him on a strict pitch count.

What would it take for Stephen Strasburg to make the Hall of Fame? A Hall of Famer needs to be someone who dominates the game for a significant amount of time, meaning maybe 10-12 years at the least. If Strasburg’s arm can hold up for 12 years, can we say that he would average 20 wins a season? With the display that he put on yesterday I sure believe he can. 12 years of 20 wins a season would amount to a 220 win total. Assuming that these years are dominant, that should deserve a trip to Cooperstown. I believe that only 10 pitchers who are currently in the Hall of Fame have less than 200 wins.

When you talk about phenoms there’s always talk about all the ones that were supposed to be great but didn’t pan out. However, sometimes we forget about the great ones who were phenoms at one point in their life. If you’re from Canada you know all about the hype that surrounded Sidney Crosby when he was only 16 years old. If you’re from basically anywhere you must remember the talk about Lebron James and how he was deemed “The Chosen One” on the cover of Sports Illustrated while still in high school. Tiger Woods on the Mike Douglas show at the tender age of 2. Just a couple more I want to throw out there as well are Mario Lemieux, Pele, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Kids don’t become phenoms for no reason.

There has been talk of there never being another 300 win pitcher ever again in this day and age of restricting pitch counts. Of all the pitchers that could crack the 300 win mark, I would put my money on Stephen Strasburg. Right now though, fans should focus on the fact that this kid is truly something special, and that it is just a real treat to watch him pitch. Throughout his career Strasburg will be compared to the all-time greats as well as the all-time greatest duds. Stephen Strasburg is destined for the Hall of Fame but maybe even, greatest ever.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

27 Responses to Stephen Strasburg to the Hall of Fame?

  1. tbsportsblog says:

    Great article!! Strasburg is definately a special talent, and hopefully he’ll have a long and successful career.

  2. Stevie says:

    Hey, Chris. Thanks for the props on my post. It’s greatly appreciated.
    Great post especially with bringing back the heartache to Cubs fans about Prior.
    One thing about Strasburg. I’m interested to see how he reacts to a bad outing. He hasn’t really had one in his “professional” career although he did take a couple of losses in the minors. It’s bound to happen. Well, maybe not the way he threw last night, but it will. How will he bounce back? Then, we can all comment on his makeup and intagibles.
    Yes, the hype will continue.

  3. demariaj says:

    Great post Chris. Let’s hope his arm holds out and we can all watch his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown one day.

  4. The OMB says:

    It is a little too soon to be talking HoF. Remember that sitting on the bench for the Pirates last night was the 2004 MLB Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby. While last night was a virtuoso performance, fortune is never guaranteed in the show. I am a Die-Hard Cubs fan and I remember all too well the 20 strike out performance by Kerry Wood and the promise of Mark Prior…both are going nowhere near the HoF.

    I really enjoyed the kid’s pitching last night and while I do think he has the potential to be great…why not give him at least a few starts before we start filling out ballots. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great post and thanks for stopping by my little hole in the wall to take a peek.

  5. chadhackl says:

    That was a great article man. It may be a little early to think Hall of Fame but after last night he took the first stepping stone to solidifying his hype. Not only 14 strikeouts, but no walks was the thing that really got me thinking this kid is for real. We’ll see how he does at Cleveland for his first road game.

  6. SportsView says:

    Nice article, Chris. I can’t wait to see how Strasburg does in Cleveland Sunday. I think you got it right…it’s not just the fastball…it’s the curve that will get him out of trouble. Thanks for your comment, also!

  7. Excellent article Chris! so well done and well said! I am glad that you let me know about it. I am going to make my husband (who is a big Nationals fan) read it tonight.
    It is so exciting to to know that you were also there among the crowd, we were certainly privilege to be there yesterday, I feel like we belong to this private elite club (40,000 people club) lol who witnessed this historic moment:)
    Thanks again!
    Mirella
    I love when you say it is a real treat watching him. Yes indeed!

    • oh, I just realized that you were not there? outch, I feel bad! You should have been there and not me. For such a fervent fan like you I am sorry that you missed the opportunity to see him Chris. It was beyond what anyone can imagine!
      He pitches so fast and straight that it is impossible to follow the ball with your eyes….

  8. launiusr says:

    This is a great article. Too early for the HoF, but if Strasberg stays healthy he may well have a place there in 20 years or so.

  9. beenstew says:

    The crazy thing was that he only threw 94 pitches. But if you think what Strasburg did was impressive, check out the debut of Rangers’ 1973 1st round pick David Clyde. He got drafted out of high school and one month later was pitching against the Twins as an 18 year old. He didn’t do too bad, but a lot of people say the Rangers screwed him up by throwing him in the fire like that. Here was his line:

    5 ip, 1 h, 2 er, 8 k, but 7 bb

  10. Back at you, Chris! Nice piece. I just can’t read enough on this guy ๐Ÿ™‚ I just posted again on some of the hilarious hype-sarcasm that’s surfacing. My favorite- this tweet last night after the game: During his pre-game supper, Stephan Strasburg told his infield, “One of you will betray me tonight.”

    And a great article on ESPN.com jokes that when Strasburg pitches in 3D, he will actually slip into the 4th dimension, go back in time and strike out Babe Ruth.

    Funny stuff…but as you point out..this kid’s sheer talent… is dead serious.

  11. Thanks for commenting my post and your post is great.

  12. Jackie says:

    Nice analysis, though the nature of baseball is that you can’t see how it’s going to turn out in the long run. Hopefully he stays healthy and injury free…then we can talk about his chances at the hall of fame.

  13. johnnybabe says:

    Chris i liked this article alot, but i think its really to determine if Strasburg should make it to the hall of fame. Because he only faced one team and i would like to see how he does against all the other teams in the Majors, if does this good or better against each team from now to the time he retires then yes he is a hall of famer. You cant base anything just from one game.

  14. Thanks for the feedback on my site, Chris. I think you make some very solid points on Strasburg. I watched his debut live yesterday and there’s no doubt he has the ability to be the best pitcher of this generation. I’m not sure if I’m ready to say he’s going to be a greater pitcher than the recently-retired group of pitchers that includes Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavin, Pedro Martinez.

  15. Thanks for the feedback on my site, Chris. I think you make some very solid points on Strasburg. I watched his debut live yesterday and there’s no doubt he has the ability to be the best pitcher of this generation. I’m not sure if I’m ready to say he’s going to be a greater pitcher than the recently-retired group of pitchers that includes Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavin, Pedro Martinez.

    http://prospectnotebook.com/

  16. Hey Chris are you on Twitter? If you are let me know so I can tell you how to add a retweet button to promote your blog.
    You have a great blog here and people should know about it:)
    Cheers
    Mirella

    • Chris Ross says:

      Hi, thanks so much I appreciate your comments very much. I’m not on twitter at the moment but I will be soon. Once I get it twitter I will get back to you so I can add you.

  17. bobdingle says:

    Really liked your article as well. Lots of good historical references. It’s important to note, and you kind of touched on this as well, that Strasburg will only throw about 150 total innings this season (including the minor leagues) so he’ll end up with about 110 IP just so that delivery angle and polished stuff stays healthy and not overworked. Keep it up man!

  18. Hey Chris,

    First off, thanks for reading/commenting on my blog. I don’t have too many readers. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Second, this is a great article too! I have to say that it’s probably a little too early to start voting Strasburg for the Hall of Fame [maybe Cy Young though!?], but I can see where you’re coming from. He could be history in the making. I’m looking forward to see him pitch against the Indians this weekend. Hopefully he’ll be just as good!

    -Leah
    http://bullpointpen.wordpress.com/

  19. Thanks for the comment on the post. Your blog looks good, you go into some pretty good depth in regards to your thoughts. Strasburg has the tools but lets see how it goes when he doesn’t face the worst hitting team in baseball then takes his second start against a bottom dwelling offensive team. Keep up the good posts i’ll be sure to continue to check them out and keep reading my posts @ http://www.thesportscommissioner.com and let me know what you think.

  20. Jason says:

    @Chris

    Thanks for the feedback. Your blog is solid. Good content. The kid still has a long way to go. I still consider Lincecum to be the best.

    At 21, the kid has a dynamite arm. I remember when Dontrelle Willis was 8-1 in 03. He never performed well against the Giants.

    Thanks again for the feedback. I subscribed to your blog. I also have another blog too – http://magicwriter.net. I’ll keep a lookout on your articles.

    Make sure to trim some of your paragraphs. Keep them around 4-5 sentences. It looks better, as well as to give the reader some time to digest your content. Good luck.

  21. Jason says:

    It’s too early to tell whether the kid is going to make it to the Hall of Fame. Defintely a premature debate. I would ask whether he can help the Nats win.

    They need some help. He’s on pace to do some special things. Nats are lucky to have him. Only time will tell the tale. Cool article.

  22. Yo to the ho Baby says:

    Very fine work! I agree with you on this kid’s talent. If this kid stays injury, drug and stalker free(easier said than done), he’s got a monster career ahead of him. I’m guessing you’ll be watching the Nationals on Sunday at 1:05 ET. ME TOO!

  23. Donald Whitaker says:

    I agree with you totally. I think pitcher is the hardest position in sports to sustain greatness. A lot of pitchers are un-hittable for a couple of years and then they just seem to lose it. We’ll see how this plays out but in the meantime I’m gonna enjoy watching Strasburg. Thanks for the love on my site skyboxtalk.com

  24. Pooch says:

    I’ll be looking for a similar blog next year when Bryce Harper gets the call to provide some firepower so Strasburg can get those W’s!

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