Steven Strasberg – Pitching Storm Clouds

Posted by on May 14th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

He had a lightning bolt for a right arm when he joined them.

So much was expected of Steven Strasberg, the legendary San Diego State Aztecs pitcher, the top pick in the draft just 5-years back.

The flashes on the mound, have been like lightning bolts out of the sky. The 98mph fastballs, the huge strikeout games early in his career, and the expectations.

The thunder-clap of injury issues have been equally as big, his arm mechanics, the coaching he has received, the injuries, the decision to shut him down with post season approaching, and the fact he is no longer the same pitcher.

Phenom doesn’t describe who he was, and what was expected when he was drafted by the Nationals, just ahead of the Padres in 2009. Handled with kid gloves moving thru the Nationals farm system, he arrived with a flourish, a (5-3) rookie season record with a 2.91-ERA and big strikeout games in 2010. A year later, he was gone with torn elbow ligaments after just five starts in 2011 and a 1.50ERA. He has had 14-and-15 win seasons since then, but the dominance has not been there.

The torn elbow ligaments, were then followed by shoulder issues, then a forearm issue, and now this year a shoulder blade problem.

He’s at Petco Park with a (2-4) record and a 6.06 ERA. The strikeout numbers still flash like neon lights (781K-685 innings)…but his consistency has been like Wall Street, up and down.

Some think the whip like action on a fastball that has lost some velocity, will shorten his career. Some think he has been babied too much, and isn’t tough enough to work thru what other pitchers work thru. Some think the Nationals have failed to work to help him with mechanics that might prevent further physical breakdowns.

He praised the late Tony Gwynn for teaching him what it was like to be a pro, while at SDSU. But in the major leagues, it’s what have you done in your last start, in your last season, in a pennant race, that make or break careers.

Strasberg says he is healthy, that this is all mechanics right now. He can deliver big time starts, but the expected dominance start-by-start is nowhere to be seen right now.

They expected the stardom of Roger Clemens or Bob Gibson. They saw the sizzle of a young Pedro Martinez. They hope he doesn’t turn into a sad story like promise-then-injuries that took away Marc Prior’s greatness.

Steven Strasberg still has a future ahead of him, but the trail of setbacks him still linger behind. Even a 98mph fastball won’t allow you to move away from what is in the rear-view mirror, if the gas is followed by another breakdown.

Lightning off the mound, or a thunderclap of more trouble coming for the Washington Nationals star?

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