He’s already considered perhaps the best college pitching prospect of all time, but Stephen Strasburg just might have earned himself a couple extra million in that deal Scott Boras is “not at all negotiating at this time” with the Nationals.
The acting GM of the Nats, Mike Rizzo, was on hand yesterday as San Diego State’s Strasburg threw a no-hitter against Air Force, piling up 17 strikeouts in the process. Almost as entertaining, though, was Rizzo’s attempts to give Strasburg as many back-handed compliments as possible to make it look like the team isn’t falling all over itself to get him in their rotation as soon as possible.
Let’s decode some of Rizzo’s statements, as provided by FANHOUSE.
“He’s got a great arm,” said Rizzo, a former scouting director for Arizona. “He’s got two great pitches [fastball and slider] and had no need for a changeup and didn’t throw one.”
Translation: “No third pitch? You think we’re going to give $50 million to a kid who only throws two pitches? No offspeed stuff? You think Chase Utley’s scared of this kid?”
“The pinpoint command I didn’t see, but he has general control.”
Translation: “You think we’re going to give $50 million to a kid who can’t paint the corners with every pitch?”
“He elevated the fastball at times and got away with it,” Rizzo said. “He gets a lot of swings and missed outside the strike zone. In the National League East — Carlos Delgado and David Wright — those guys don’t fish.”
Translation: “Air Force ain’t the Mets. Just ’cause he can mow down a bunch of guys who swing the stick like Jamie Moyer doesn’t mean he’s getting anyone out in our division.”
Another scout said this, according to the FANHOUSE story:
One executive who has seen Strasburg said he gets swings-and-missed with his slider but few called strikes and gets away with his hard, moving fastball down the middle at times – two more areas that could use refinement.
In other words, he sounds like a guy who could step in and dominate briefly while big-league hitters adjust to him, but he’s got a long way to go before he’ll be able to justify whatever Boras is going to demand the Nats pay for him. I think D.C. fans should be excited about getting him, but he might not exactly be the second coming of Tom Seaver just yet. He might just be another Jake Peavy, which would be nice, but not someone who’s going to save a franchise.