Strasburg's pro debut

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Stephen Strasburg’s legacy is no longer built on hype alone. The Nationals’ No. 1 draft pick actually pitched in a real, live professional baseball game today, so we finally have some tangible evidence of his ability. Strasburg’s line from today’s Florida instructional league game against the Detroit Tigers:

2 ip, 3 h, 1 er, 0 bb, 3 k, 25 pitches, 19 strikes.

You may now draw conclusions on this guy’s long-term potential. Is he destined to be a 10-time Cy Young Award winner or the biggest bust in draft history?

OK, so there really are no conclusions to be drawn from this. Pay no attention to the stat line, really. These instructional league games carry roughly as much weight as a “B” game in spring training. It’s a controlled environment, with a mish-mash of minor-league players filling out the rosters, and everyone’s working on something specific. No one pays attention to the results.

All that we can really say now is that Stephen Strasburg is capable of throwing two innings in a professional uniform. He’ll ramp up to three innings five days from now, then head out west for the Arizona Fall League, where the competition level rises considerably (that league boasts some of the top Class AA and Class AAA talent in the game).

But it was kind of cool to see Strasburg actually pitching in an actual Nats uniform for the first time, wasn’t it?

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Mark Zuckerman

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