Well, it looks like we will indeed get a second round of Stephen Strasburg mania this season.
The Washington Nationals’ prized right hander made his second rehab start Friday night and was impressive. The No. 1 pick from the 2009 MLB Draft tossed three scoreless innings for the Class A Potomac Nationals. He needed just 33 pitches (26 were strikes) to complete his work, struck out five batters and he even reached 99 mph on the radar gun (his fastball regularly hit 96 or 97). He did allow two hits, but both were of the infield variety. So, yeah, sounds like he looked pretty good.
We’ve already discussed how Strasburg’s comeback from Tommy John surgery has gone very well and has seen him return to form rapidly. But last night’s start further illustrated that he’s likely not that far from making an appearance in the Major Leagues this season.
Strasburg’s first rehab appearance didn’t go as well. While toeing the rubber for Class A Hagerstown last Sunday he needed 31 pitches to get through 1 2/3 innings. His command was not what it should have been in that start, but much of that can be chalked up to the adrenaline associated with his first real action in almost a year.
With a few more rehab starts under his belt, we could see Strasburg arriving in Washington D.C. sometime in mid-September. There is no need for the Nationals to rush him, in fact, the only reason they’ll be bringing him up is to create a buzz for next season.
Yes, it would be nice to get Strasburg some innings at the big league level this year but it’s not necessary. We think they should err on the side of caution, but team management is clearly intent on moving their gifted righty along as quickly as possible.