Below is an excerpt from my new book, Paul Lebowitz’s 2012 Baseball Guide.
This section is about Nationals’ star Stephen Strasburg.
Stephen Strasburg is considered the “ace” of the Nats staff, but it’s impossible to be an ace if a pitcher can’t be expected to throw at least 200 innings. In 2011, in his return from Tommy John surgery, Strasburg threw 44 innings.
This season, his limit won’t be any higher than 150-160 innings.
I’m not getting into my usual rant about the idiotic “Verducci Effect” and the other excuses (not reasons, excuses) for random limitations placed on each and every pitcher that comes along in a paranoid attempt to keep them from getting hurt and shield the organization from the inevitable criticism that would come from such an eventuality.
But here’s a flash: the Nats had Strasburg on a limit when he first got to the big leagues and he got hurt anyway.
They’re controlling every aspect of Strasburg’s career like a monolithic Marv Marinovich and protecting him to the point of sticking him in a plastic bubble.
It’s not the way to develop. They have this young man in a straitjacket and it’s going to hinder him as a person and as a pitcher.
Davey Johnson will adhere to the edicts, but he was never one to baby his pitchers and would probably like to loosen up the restrictions.
It’s not going to happen.
On the mound, in his 24 big league innings, Strasburg looked even better than he did as a rookie. He struck out 24 hitters and walked only 2! He allowed 15 hits and no homers. His fastball reached the upper 90s, he showed his great curve and changeup.
Strasburg could contend for the Cy Young Award this season and if they took off the handcuffs, the Nats would be title contenders immediately.
But they won’t.
Click on the above links to purchase a copy.