One of the most hyped draft prospects in recent memory, Stephen Strasburg became the first of back-to-back first overall picks for the Washington Nationals. Somehow he’s lived up to those lofty expectations in his career, when healthy, and there are still many more years to come.
The right-hander was signed to a record contract at the signing deadline out of San Diego. He would make his major league debut just a year later, and who could forget that night.
Eight years on from that day, he continues to be one of the most dominant pitcher in the whole of baseball. He is also inching closer to some of the franchise pitching records. He’s third in franchise history in wins, second in strikeouts and fifth in games started.
The one knock on Strasburg has always been his health. In August of 2010, he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which resulted in Tommy John surgery. After a successful rehab process and the controversial innings limit in 2012, he returned to the DL seven more times in six years.
He signed a seven-year extension in 2016, meaning he could be with the Nationals for the bulk of his career. However, the contract has two opt-outs after third (2019) and fourth (2020) years. So if he pitches to his potential, he may hit free agency sooner than expected.
But even if he does opt out after 2019, he’ll have firmly established himself as the greatest home-grown Nationals’ pitcher ever.