It is ridiculous that the Washington Nationals are considering sitting down ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg when he reaches 160 innings pitched. Many are going to call me an idiot, and these people are worried about protecting Strasburg as a long term investment, rather than as a short term asset. I’m here to inform these cautious people that they actually have nothing to worry about if he keeps throwing. Countless pitchers have recovered from Tommy John surgery, and have carried large workloads as well. Tommy John pitched for 13 seasons after surgery and never missed a start.
Strasburg feels good, explaining to the media that management will have to “pry the ball out of his hand” in the event of a shut down. Any athlete would say this because of competitive spirit, but if his elbow was not in fact 100% ready and healthy, he would not have been cleared to play by the doctor. He also would not be throwing a baseball 95mph and putting up monster statistics, especially strikeouts. Strasburg would not have a WHIP of 1.15 and 11.42 K/9. Sam Miller, a baseball prospectus blogger, ranks a Strasburg change-up as the best pitch for the week of April 13th. If Strasburg was not fully recovered, he would not be able to throw this change-up pain free.
Some will use an example such as Chris Carpenter in 2008 with Tommy John surgery, and then suffered a shoulder injury which set him back. As scary as any situation where Strasburg injures himself sounds to a Nationals fan, let me stress to you that Strasburg would be able to pitch 3 times in a 7 game series. If the goal each year is to win the division, league, and eventually the World Series, then you have to let Strasburg compete each time his turn is up. The Nationals are trying to build their image and fan base, and there is no better person to have out on the mound during a pennant push than the phenom, Stephen Strasburg.