Sports fans often overreact when ever there is a hint of promise. Saying Stephen Strasburg is the real deal after one game is not an overreaction, in fact it’s probably a gross underestimation, regardless if the game was against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Strasburg pitched 7 innings with 14 k, 4 hits, and only 2 runs off a home run by Delwyn Young.
The box score only tells half the story, this performance was an event that had the same feeling of a Pedro Martinez game from 1999-2001, which was probably the most dominant display of pitching in the history of the game. The crowd eagerly anticipated each pitch as if they were scared they would miss something spectacular. His stuff had batters helpless like they were stranded on an island being bombarded by a category 5 hurricane.
It’s not an overreaction to say he has the best stuff in the league already either, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian’s summary of his arsenal, “95-98 mph fastball, a power curveball at 82-84 mph, a changeup with split action.” The gun from the MLB channel broadcast had him consistently at around 98-100 mph with great command.
Of course there is more to pitching than just having great stuff, Joba Chamberlin has great stuff but he’s known more for having a face you just have the urge to punch, than being a good pitcher.. That’s only one component a great pitcher needs. How Strasburg handles adversity, stays consistent over the course of the year, and proves to be a match for the great hitters in the game like his league counter-parts Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard, will take him from being the real deal to one of the best pitchers in the game, maybe even all-time.