Through his first three starts, Washington Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg has a 2-0 record, and has recorded 32 strikeouts with a 1.86 ERA. His two home starts have been sellouts – which for the Washington Nationals are as rare as a sorority house virgin – and his start at Cleveland gave the Indians a 4,000 ticket boost in sales. Needless to say, the buzz around the 21-year old has some MLB pundits saying his presence could be a huge attraction at the 2010 All-Star Game next month. If only somebody would completely miss the point…
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker and ESPN announcer and Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan openly disagree with this notion, seeing as Strasburg didn’t join a MLB roster until this month, making him far less deserving than pitchers that have been around since Opening Day. While they acknowledge the potential of the former No. 1 pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, Baker and Morgan just don’t think it’s his time yet.
Hey Joe Morgan, have you been around baseball a long time and seen stars come and go?
“I think he’s going to be a great pitcher, like everyone else thinks. He’s going to be great, but that shouldn’t make you skip things,” Morgan said. “I was here when J.R. Richard pitched and no one wanted to put him on the All-Star team after he struck out 15 in his first game.
“I’ve seen phenoms before. I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s going to be a great pitcher, but I don’t think you should come here and leapfrog guys who have been doing this all year.” Via Fanhouse
Baker agrees with Morgan’s comments, and of course he would. His Reds have greatly benefited from the outstanding performance of their own rookie badass, Mike Leake, who is 5-1 with a 2.92 ERA and 58 strikeouts through 14 starts. Baker’s Reds have also been neck-and-neck with the St. Louis Cardinals, who are the benefactors of a breakout season by rookie Jaime Garcia, who is 6-3 with a 1.59 ERA and 66 strikeouts. Baker and Morgan certainly have one hell of an argument right there.
That is, until you factor in that every MLB team has to be represented by at least one player at the All-Star Game, and seeing as no Nationals players are currently leading any position voting, and there is only one Washington player (Pudge Rodriguez) even in a Top 5 battle right now, it could also be argued that the guy who has actually created excitement about baseball in a city that has had to suffer through the post-Ripken Baltimore Orioles and accept being the landing spot for the defunct Expos could be a solid draw come July 13 in Anaheim. I mean, unless the fans would rather have Adam Dunn’s usual record-setting strikeout pace. Because who wouldn’t want to watch that?