Friday, October 23, 2009

AFL Update: Stephen Strasburg

posted by Jon Williams
The Nationals Rotation Ace of the Future, Stephen Strasburg made his second appearance in the Arizona Fall League yesterday. It did not go uite as well as the first one. Actually it was a lot different in that he allowed eight runs (seven earned) over 2 and 2/3 innings. But in the AFL this should not be taken too seriously. This is definitely a hitters league. Every team is essentially a minor league All-Star team. Plus, pitchers are often working on things like developing a change-up or learning to work around the zone.

Harry Pavlidis of Beyond the Box Score has done some great work analyzing Strasburg's pitches. That you should definitely read to get some insight into the pitcher that everyone is talking about. Here is a small sample:
Beyond the speed gap of 7 or 8 mph (very nice), Strasburg's change "sank" about six inches relative to the fastball, which is brutal. If he's hiding that thing at all, yikes. If today was any indication, he was. He kept it out of the zone (30%), but every one he threw for a strike yielded a swing. Two of the seven balls were chased. Of the five total swings, three found nothing but air. Two made contact, on the ground, which still didn't work out well. Both were singles.
You can check out the details of the outing including who did what damage by reading Barry M. Bloom's report on Nationals (dot) com.
Strasburg allowed eight earned runs and seven hits, including three homers (one a grand slam), in a 9-6 loss to the Peoria Javelinas. It was his first look at that kind of disaster. Take note that he gave up only 16 earned runs in 15 college starts this season for San Diego State, for which he was 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA during his junior year.

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