Exactly how many innings will Strasburg pitch?

Andy Behrens
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On Sunday afternoon, while Stephen Strasburg(notes) was earning a win in his pro debut, MLB Network's Peter Gammons tweeted the following:

When Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras finished the Strasburg deal in August, they agreed he'd be limited to around 100 IP in 2010

If accurate, this report means that Strasburg will actually pitch fewer innings this year than he did at San Diego State last season (109.0). It also means that his immediate fantasy ceiling is essentially the same as that of a quality middle reliever. You'd be lucky to get a stat line from Strasburg in 2010 that looks like Tyler Clippard's(notes) 2009.

But MASN's Ben Goessling later spoke with Doug Harris, Washington's director of player development, and he received a very different workload forecast:

Asked about a Sunday report that the Nationals had agreed with Scott Boras, Strasburg's agent, to only use the right-hander for 100 innings this year, Harris said, "I'm not sure that holds water. We're looking for an incremental increase on what he's done in the past." … Harris said he envisions Strasburg throwing between 150 and 160 innings this season, though "there are variables that come into that."

If you drafted and stashed the 21-year-old Strasburg, then you're clearly hoping the details of the Rizzo/Boras agreement — if any agreement exists — are incorrect. Harris' projection is much friendlier for fantasy purposes, as it likely means that 90 to 110 of Strasburg's innings would be pitched in the majors.

We know that Strasburg has some sort of workload cap, and he'll burn another five frames at Double-A on Friday, then five more next Wednesday. I'll set the over/under for his total usage at 139.2 IP, with an early-September shutdown. (I'll also set the over/under for total Strasburg blog posts at 139). Please pick a side in comments…

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