Stephen Strasburg is like the ex you tend to go back to numerous times. They are appealing, have a lot of positive qualities, and you expect it to work out eventually.
In the end, you’re continuously disappointed. When it comes to Strasburg in 2019, I am like Kramer in “The Contest” episode, “I’m out!”
Strasburg will still be drafted as a Top 15 starting pitcher in many leagues and it’s a mistake. While the landscape of baseball has changed and pitchers don’t throw as many innings as they used to, the case could be made that you can still have success with Strasburg, but it will take a lot of work, headaches and some luck.
The problem with the Nationals’ right-hander is he’s going in a tier where several of the pitchers can reach 180-200 innings, while Strasburg is highly unlikely to get there. As good as Strasburg has been, he’s had an ERA below three once since his first full season in 2012.
Eighteen pitchers threw at least 200 innings last season and 52 threw at least 170 innings. Strasburg wasn’t one of them. Since reaching 200 innings for the only time in his career in 2014 with 215 innings, Strasburg has pitched 127.1 innings, 147.2 innings, 175.1 innings and 130 innings last season.
Over the last few seasons, Strasburg has had elbow injuries, shoulder inflammation, upper back injury, an oblique injury and neck strain. Strasburg went 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 28.7 percent strikeout rate and seven percent walk rate. The velocity on his fastball was slightly down, and he threw fewer first-pitch strikes compared to most seasons. He was at 61 percent last season and is usually around 65 percent.
It’s easy to see why so many like Strasburg. He can be dominant at times. He had four games of double-digit strikeouts last season and can look like the best pitcher in baseball when’s on. The problem is durability and the lack of elite stats. His ERA over the last four seasons is 3.46, 3.60, 2.52 and 3.74. Strasburg is 30 years old and has already endured numerous injuries.
Strasburg was drafted with the last pick in the third round of the FSTA draft as the 15th starting pitcher off the board and has an ADP of 64.12 on fantrax.com. There’s no discount for a pitcher that has shown reaching 150 innings over the last several seasons is a problem.
Strasburg can put up good numbers when’s on the mound, but he’s going to be a headache. In weekly leagues, there be some scoring periods where you don’t know if he will pitch that week. All pitchers present risk. It’s the nature of the position, but the red flags are waving in your face for Strasburg. If he were cheaper, it would be a different story. Strasburg is overvalued in 2019.
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