Washington Nationals: Does Strasburg get the credit?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Stephen Strasburg
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 11: Stephen Strasburg /

A franchise cornerstone for nearly 10 years with the Washington Nationals. But does Stephen Strasburg really get the credit that this deserves?

With all of the Bryce Harper talk in the media, about where he’s going to be next year, it seems like a good time to take a look at another Washington Nationals cornerstone. One who probably doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. Stephen Strasburg.

Strasburg was Mike Rizzo’s first ever draft pick as general manager back in 2009.

He rose through the minor leagues with ease before making his incredible 14 K debut in 2010.  Ever since then, when healthy, he’s right up there with the Cy Young caliber pitchers in the league.

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However, continuing to go under the radar, is the fact that’s he’s been the most important Nats pitcher since the move to D.C. back in 2005. Sure we’ve had some great Nationals pitchers in that time with Livan Hernandez, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez . But Strasburg puts pay to all of them and will continue to do so after the seven-year extension he received last April.

Consider this, Max Scherzer, who is probably the best pitcher we’ve seen at Nationals Park, and compare his stats to Strasburg’s. I’ve taken Scherzer’s last six seasons, during which he’s won three Cy Young awards, and been an All-Star each year. And then compared it to all of Stephen’s eight seasons (the first two were reduced due to Tommy John surgery). This gets us 195 Scherzer starts, and 184 Strasburg starts.

First off, the ERA; a stat a pitcher is likely judged on the most. Scherzer sits at a nice round 3.00, probably slightly higher than you may expect but still at an elite level. Strasburg’s career ERA is marginally higher at 3.07, which is remarkable.

To go with ERA, their WHIP is similar, where Scherzer stands at 1.030. With Strasburg following narrowly behind with a 1.081 WHIP. Pretty impressive.

Do you want some more statistics? Of course you do.

The two most controllable parts of a pitcher’s performance are walks and strikeouts. Strasburg sits at 2.3 BB/9 and a pretty hefty 10.5 K/9. Scherzer has the same BB/9 at 2.3 and a slightly higher 10.9 K/9. It proves Strasburg really should be in the conversation among the best in the game.

Obviously, the main problem over his career has been his lack of health.

Strasburg has now hit the disabled list eight time in his career. Some of which can be attributed to the Tommy John surgery he had in September 2010. This means he’s only had one season with over 30 starts in his career, which certainly isn’t ideal for an “Ace”.

However, post-surgery, he’s failed to make less than 23 starts, shows that this is slowly becoming less of an issue. Watching him pitch last year, including gutting it out against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the NLDS, it looked like a different Strasburg. One who really has ascended himself to the most important pitcher in franchise history. No, that’s not an overreaction.

Next: Madson's success vital for Nats

I’m sure you, just like myself, will look forward to more of the same this year.