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Entries in Stephen Strasburg (5)

Monday
Sep102012

Strasburg's season comes to an end...and not a moment too soon

Stephen Strasburg is done for the year and his Washington Nationals teammates will presumably progress to the postseason without him, the only question now is how long will they continue to play?

Strasburg is 15-6 record this season with a 3.16 earned run average, striking out 197 in 159.1 innings. Those numbers only tell part of the story that has two sub-sections.

Strasburg made 28 starts this season and it is worth looking at his first 14 starts versus his last 14 starts.

Here are Strasburg's first 14 starts April 5, 2012 to June 20, 2012 versus Strasburg's second 14 starts June 25, 2012 to Sept 7, 2012:

 

First 14 starts

Second 14 starts

Team result

12-2

7-7

Strasburg result

9-1

6-5

ERA

2.46

3.94

 

 

 

Innings pitched

84.0

75.1

Batters faced

332

321

Pitches thrown

1332

1275

 

 

 

Hits

65

71

Walks

22

26

Strikeouts

110

87

 

 

 

Runs

26

36

Earned runs

23

33

Home runs

6

9

BA against

.214

.247

OBP

.274

.308

Slugging

.313

.408

OPS

.586

.716

 

Here is the graphic look at Strasburg's first 14 games:

Here is the graphic look at Strasburg's second 14 games: 

And as you can see there is a significant difference in Strasburg's effectiveness as the season has progressed.

It got worse in his last five starts:

In his last five starts he had a 4.50 ERA to go along with his 1.346 WHIP

Here is Rick Peterson, director of pitching development for the Baltimore Orioles, with the great Ed Randall of WFAN on September 8 explaining the rationale behind shutting down Strasburg at this point. Peterson has contended that had the Nationals started Strasburg's season on April 28 and this would not have been such a controversy.

After all is said and done, I wish the Nationals well and I have to feel this was a smart decision for the long-term Strasburg investment particularly when you realize that in the short-term it may not have been that bad a baseball decision.

Monday
Jul302012

Stephen Strasburg: Awesome at the Plate, Too

Stephen Strasburg is an awesome pitcher. Considering that Strasburg leads all qualified starting pitchers in K/9 (11.6) and ranks ninth in ERA+ (144), that statement won't come as breaking news unless you crash-landed on the LOST island and just made your way back to civilization. But did you know he has been a threat at the plate too?

As if his mid-90s heat and knee-buckling curve weren't enough to beat opponents into submission, Strasburg is raking in 2012. He's batting .323, getting on base at a .400 clip and slugging .548 in 37 plate appearances. It's a tiny sample, of course, and Strasburg's prior history with the bat isn't promising (he hit .038 with nary a walk or extra-base hit in 30 PA from 2010-11). But he's showing a shockingly disciplined approach at the dish this season.

Check out Strasburg's swing rate in 2010-11, and then 2012:

2010-11

 

2012

 

In 2010-11, Strasburg did what most pitchers do: he let a lot of strikes go by (55 percent in-zone swing rate, 63 percent MLB average) and swung at a lot of crappy pitches out of the strike zone (38 percent chase rate, 29 percent MLB average). This year, though? Strasburg has swung at 72 percent of in-zone pitches. His chase rate is 12 percent, which is actually tied with George Kottaras for lowest in the majors among those with at least 30 plate appearances.

That's a whole different level of hitting mockery, isn't it? No longer content to just make batters flail while on the mound, Strasburg is taking and raking at the plate. It's like he's peering at the opposing position players and saying, "You call THIS hard? [BAM]" Maybe he is a cyborg after all.

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