Strasburg lives up to hype, leads Nats to title

A former prospect realizes his potential

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg may have been called the “most-hyped pick in draft history” but he got the last laugh with another label he earned last fall – “world champion.”

Indeed, in his age-31 season, the Washington Nationals’ hard-throwing righthander seems to have realized the massive potential that was attached to his name when he was selected first overall by the Nats in the 2009 draft.

That buzz got only louder when he burst into the majors in June 2010, striking out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in a dominant debut. More such performances followed before disaster struck in August in the form of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery and took him out of action until late in the folliwng year.

When he returned in 2012, he found himself at the center of a controversy when innings limits imposed on him dictated that he be shut down for the postseason. After much hue and cry and a poor pitching performance in September, he was placed on the physically unable to perform list. The Nats didn’t make it past the NLDS.

In the intervening years, Strasburg distinguished himself as one of the game’s top righties, recording double-digit wins in all but one season, ERAs consistently in the threes and a strikeout title in 2014 while staying mostly injury-free.

But it was in the 2019 postseason that he took his game to another level, winning five games, including two in the World Series as the Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in seven games for the franchise’s first world championship. For his performance, Strasburg won World Series MVP honors.

Strasburg and the Nationals can be seen in action when Fox Sports 1 airs a recap of the 2019 World Series in the early morning of Tuesday, June 30.

Full name: Stephen James Strasburg

Birth date: July 20, 1988

Birthplace: San Diego

Height/weight: 6 feet 5 inches/235 pounds

Bats/throws: Right/right

Teams: Washington Nationals (2010-present)

Career pitching stats: 112 wins, 58 losses, 3.17 ERA, 1,695 strikeouts, 1.086 WHIP

Honors and achievements: Three-time All-Star (2012, 2016, 2017); world champion (2019); World Series MVP (2019); NL wins leader (2019); NL strikeout leader (2014); won a bronze medal representing the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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