I know we’ve discussed him before on the blog, but CNNSI posted an article yesterday, by Lee Jenkins that is the definitive Strasburg article, and I’d highly recommend that everyone take a peek at it. Jenkins writes really well, and gives a soup-to-nuts perspective on the phenom, with stellar quotes and analysis.
Some of the more intriguing stuff you’ll read include some folks absolutely gushing about this kid in unrestrained fashion. It makes you think he could come into the bigs next year and win 20. In talking to some scouts watching Strasburg’s game against UNLV where he touch 101mph in the first inning, Jenkins gets these reactions:
“I’ve never seen anyone like him,” said one. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent.” “He doesn’t need the minor leagues,” added another. “He’s ready for the majors right now.” “The only pitcher I could even compare him to is Roger Clemens in his heyday,” offered a third. “This is something you have to see to believe.”
Roger Clemens in his heyday? That’s ridiculous, but pretty heady stuff for a college kid, huh? The article also has a great picture of Strasburg, and the guy even LOOKS scary. Jenkins goes on to describe his stuff in depth as basically: 4-seamer in high nineties, 2-seamer about 95, with command. Not only that, apparently his slider is his best pitch. Sounds like Joba on steroids!
Oh crap, I can’t even say that phrase as a joke anymore, can I. Who knows these days, the kid might actually BE on steroids. Strasburg has a feel-good story that Jenkins relates, where he overcame a history (similar to Joba) of overeating and terrible conditioning, to progress to the point where he added 5-10 mph to his heater. Jenkins clarifies that everyone around him and Strasburg, himself, avers that the spike is due to conditioning and maturation, not to PEDs, but it’s sad that has to be mentioned now with every single piece in which a guy raises himself up by hard work and exercise to a high level.
The story is a pretty cool one in which Strasburg was such a mess in high school that he, in his own words, “told scouts not to draft me.” One scout described him as “soft in every way,” and his high school coach said, “It was scary. His knees couldn’t support his weight.” Luckily, he had a strength coach in college, Dave Ohton, that tore into him and forced him to improve his conditioning. “Is there something wrong with you?” Ohton asked. “Do you have a medical condition?”
“I demoralized this young man,” Ohton says. “I didn’t even want him around the other players. I had never seen a college athlete who was as far behind as he was. I didn’t think it was possible to be that bad.”
He even told the pitcher that, “you really should consider quitting. You’re not going to make it.”
It’s a really interesting read, and everyone should go over to CNNSI and take a gander. Apparently, according to some, this guy is only a year away from dominating your team, so you might as well get to know the next baseball superstar (I’m saying that somewhat genuinely, but also with a touch of irony – it’s too early to anoint this kid, but he sure seems good).
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