Stephen Strasburg – 1st pick, 2009
In the first of two years where the Washington Nationals had the top pick, they selected a right-handed pitcher out of San Diego State named Stephen Strasburg. In his final season with the Aztecs, Strasburg was 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA and had 195 strikeouts in 109 innings.
Six years ago yesterday, Strasburg made his debut at Nats Park and struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates over seven innings. The early portion of Strasburg’s career was tough when you consider he underwent Tommy John surgery and got shut down before the 2012 postseason due to an innings limit.
However, the Nats have seen a much different Strasburg of late. Since the second half of 2015, he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball as he has gone 15-2 in his last 23 starts and has 192 strikeouts. In his career, he is 63-37 in 144 starts with a 3.07 ERA and has 1,001 strikeouts (a Nats record).
Of course, while Strasburg is number three on my countdown, he has a chance to be higher if we re-visit this topic in the next few years. Last month, Strasburg signed a seven-year, $175 million contract to remain in DC throughout his prime years.
It has been an eventual six years of Strasburg in DC, but it’s safe to say that while Strasburg hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations that were placed on him on draft night, he has been one of the top two pitchers in Washington Nationals history along with Jordan Zimmermann.
Next: Number Two