Since his debut in 2010, the 24-year-old flamethrower has wowed even the most casual fans with his imposing presence, brilliant command and flair for the dramatic.
Now Strasburg is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. Fresh off a season that watched Strasburg go 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, the thoroughbred has a monster opportunity to transform his felt rage into a bust-out performance this summer.
A 6'4", 220-lb juggernaut, Strasburg is still fuming over Nationals brass shutting him down in August 2012 (according to James Wagner of the Washington Post).
It’s still kind of a sore spot, to be honest. I wish it didn’t end up the way it did. But I can’t really worry about it anymore. The season’s over, and I don’t think anybody else on the team is playing the ‘what if’ scenario anymore. It’s all about looking to the future and looking into this coming season and preparing for that.
This is a great public statement—a terrific tactic to deflect attention from the situation. But baseball fans should not buy it.
Like other great pitchers, Strasburg has that fire, that pizzazz, that unquenchable thirst to dominate the competition.
Like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, Strasburg is a winner. He is a doer. He is a workhorse with a fastball from hell.
Should Strasburg remain healthy, he will use this shutdown as fuel this season to ignite the Nationals to victory.
In perhaps a not-so-bold prediction, Strasburg will better his three-year career numbers: 21-10 with a 2.94 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 251.1 innings pitched (per ESPN).
And Strasburg will do it with a chip on his shoulder that will elevate him to the dominant stature fans have expected.
Consequently, for all the heat Nats GM Mike Rizzo and team manager Davey Johnson took for shutting Strasburg down, these two men may ultimately look like geniuses.