Mar 10, 2010, 12:14 AM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg couldn't have done much more in his spring training debut.
VIERA, Fla. — It lasted all of 20 minutes, included only 27 pitches (21 fastballs, four breaking balls, two change-ups) and was witnessed by 4,305 fans, several dozen scouts, two rosters full of players and an overflowing press box at Space Coast Stadium.
And when the first two innings of Stephen Strasburg's professional career were complete, when the shock and awe of watching a 21-year-old make All-Star big-league hitters look silly with a repertoire of four "plus" pitches, there was really only one question left to ask.
Is this guy ready to pitch in the major leagues right now?
Since the day they drafted him first in the country and then handed him a record $15.1 million contract, the Nationals have made it clear they don't want to rush Strasburg. They respect the development process that has been in place for 100 years, and he needs to experience it just like everyone else. He'll be in the big leagues this year, probably before the All-Star break. But his chance of cracking the Opening Day rotation is tissue-paper thin.
And then after two years of hype, Strasburg actually faced major-league hitters for the first time and dominated them like they were juniors at Colorado State, not the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters for the DetroitRead more »
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- WATCH: Harper faces Strasburg for first time
- Werth hits off tee for first time since surgery
- Matt Harvey expected to make much-awaited return against Nats
- Ankiel starts new chapter as life skills coordinator
- Ian Desmond discusses team expectations and future with Nats
- Eventful BP for Harper, update on Werth in Tuesday's workout
- Desmond, Rendon like what they see from Zimmerman at 1B
- Scherzer to start exhibition opener vs. Mets
- Bryce Harper does a pretty epic videobomb on Anthony Rendon
- ESPN throws shade on Nats' jerseys, calling them among worst in MLB