Like Tim Lincecum, Stephen Strasburg has dominated in the minor leagues with his 100+ m.p.h. fastball and a devastating slider.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As we prepare to see rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg begin what is expected to be a long and fruitful career on Tuesday night, I thought it would be interesting to compare what the youngster did in his short minor league career to another pitcher who has prospered after a quick stay in the minors.
Certainly it's one thing to dominate in the minors versus performing on your sport's biggest stage, but both Strasburg and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum showed right away that they were superior pitchers.
In high school Lincecum led his team to the 2003 3A state championship and in his senior season was the Player of the Year. Afterwards he attended the University of Washington and as a freshman won both the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pitcher of the Year awards. In 2006 he won the Golden Spikes Award after going 12-4 with an ERA of 1.94 and 199 strikeouts in 125.1 innings.
The San Francisco Giants drafted him 10th overall in 2006 and after pitching just 62.2 innings in the minors came up to the Giants in May of 2007. The rest of course is history.
Strasburg wasn't drafted out of high school and in fact, wasn't a very good pitcher back then. Sure he could throw 90+ m.p.h., but he wasn't in shape. During high school games he would "melt down" at the slightest provocation.
"I had a hard time handling anything that would go wrong, whether it was a call, a bad hop, an error or a guy hitting the ball hard, he said in an interview.
But things turned around in college.
Strasburg finished his college career at San Diego State in 2009 going 13-1 in his senior season with an ERA of 1.32 and 195 strikeouts in 109 innings. Like Lincecum, he won the Golden Spikes Award.
And like Lincecum, he has dominated in the minor leagues with his 100+ m.p.h. fastball and a devastating slider.
Strasburg's short stay in the minors, as you can see below, wasn't quite as good as Lincecum's but it was still pretty impressive. The question for fantasy owners is whether he can continue to copy Lincecum's results when he hits the "big-time."
Before the season, Strasburg had an ADP of 176, meaning he was a 14th or 15th round draft choice. If you drafted him there, you will certainly get your money's worth. However, according to Nats' president Stan Kasten, he'll only pitch from 100-110 innings in the majors. That could mean from 15-20 starts only and he could be shutdown before the end of the September.
By comparison, Lincecum came up earlier in the year, got 24 starts and pitched 146.1 innings going 7-4 with an ERA of 3.94 and a WHIP of 1.28. You certainly can't expect any more from Strasburg than that.
If you are in a keeper league, obviously the kid has a huge future in front of him, however if you are just dealing with 2010, you should be careful what you are willing to give up to get him in a trade (he's owned in 85% of all leagues).