2009 MLB First Year Player Draft is just hours away, and all indications are that the Nationals will select Stephen Strasburg, the right-hander from San Diego State, with their first pick.
Nationals fans are practically drooling over the prospect of this soon-to-be 21 year old (on July 20th) being signed. Many fans are hoping to see him called up to the majors in September, and nearly all Nats fans have already anointed Strasburg as the ace of the Nats staff for 2010.
I, however, am a little bit leary.
There’s no doubt that Strasburg is incredibly talented. He has great stuff — he has thrown 100+ mph fastballs, for goodness sake! But signing Strasburg is going to require a lot of money…an estimated $50 million. There is no guarantee that he will live up to the hype surrounding him. And I’m concerned about the longevity of a pitcher who throws so hard. Will Strasburg be the Nationals superstar ace for years to come, or is he just a few pitches away from blowing out his shoulder or elbow?
If the Nationals are able to sign Strasburg — and I fully expect them to do so, if only because not signing him would be a PR blunder of epic proportions — then I hope he remains in the minors this season. I know that most fans want to see him called up in September, but I’d rather not see him rushed into the big leagues before he’s ready. Maybe he will be ready in September, but I doubt it. Calling him up will certainly sell tickets towards the end of what is turning out to be an incredibly awful season, but I don’t believe that’s a good enough reason to rush this kid up to the majors before he’s ready.
At any rate, the draft is nearly here, and it will certainly be an exciting day for both the Nationals and Strasburg.