The Stephen Strasburg All-Star Debate… All In Due Time

Read the opposing argument from Babe Ruthless.

I watch the MLB All-Star game every year, but I freely admit that this year’s game seemingly has a lot of buzz… and I agree that is due in large part to today’s debate topic. Stephen Strasburg has started his career with an endless supply of hype and he’s made the Washington Nationals fairly relevant for the first time since the move to our nation’s capitol. I don’t think anyone doubts that he is an absolute stud. As a Braves fan I dread having to face him potentially six times a season. Add him to dominant NL East starters like Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson and it’s going to be a nightmare for opposing NL East hitters. But Strasburg has no business playing in the 2010 midsummer classic.

Strasburg, as great as he has looked at times, has still only pitched six times in the majors. That’s not enough to warrant one of the spots on the National League roster. If you look at the back of his baseball card, you will see that he is 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA. Projected out to a full season of starts, that ends up stretching out to a record of 12-12. It’s doubtful anyone thinks he would end up with that type of record, but that’s just what the numbers say.

It’s been said that he’s been dominant. If that’s the case, then how come he hasn’t won since June 13th? That was four starts ago. If he had more than two wins, he might have a stronger case. But he’s lost his last two decisions and he’s coming off a game where he only lasted five innings. That same Nationals team that has been ridiculed by many, including myself, scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth off K-Rod to prevent him from suffering a third consecutive defeat this past Saturday. Simply put, he hasn’t been “dominating.” Ubaldo Jiminez was dominating earlier in the season. Cliff Lee has dominated for the past month. Strasburg hasn’t been dominating for an extended period of time… yet.

There are other players deserving of a spot on the NL roster who didn’t make the team. San Diego pitcher Mat Latos is quietly having a fine season, going 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA for the division leading Padres, who, despite having the best pitching staff in baseball, have no pitchers on the roster right now. St Louis rookie Jaime Garcia, who I think has been overshadowed by fellow rookie Strasburg, is 8-4 with an ERA of 2.10. If Strasburg had posted those numbers people would be screaming for him to start the All-Star game. My bias hates to write this, but Mike Pelfrey has numbers worthy of being an All-Star. Before last night’s rough outing against Cincinnati Pelfrey was 10-2 with a 2.93 ERA. He’s one of the four double digit winners in the National League, and he isn’t on the team. All three of these guys have better “on the field” credentials than Stephen Strasburg, who currently is tied for 94th in the league in wins. That’s the bottom line.

Charlie Manuel, who ultimately had the final say on choosing the final rotation spots, said it best. He said, “I say let him pitch and let him get his feet on the ground in the major leagues and kind of let him earn his way.” The key word in that quote is EARN. Manuel went on to say that there are other guys who have started 18 to 20 games who warranted spots. That’s exactly my point.

I’m excited about the future of Stephen Strasburg. He’s going to be fun to watch, especially the first time he mows through Babe Ruthless’ favorite New York Yankees. He’s going to have plenty of other chances to pitch in the All-Star game. But for this year’s game, he’s best suited watching it on TV with the rest of America.

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