March 16, 2010
Rather, it's looking more likely that Rizzo will sentence the top pitching prospect in the bigs to a few months of riding around the minors in a bus before he's called up to the Nationals later this season.
Strasburg better get that iPod ready, because it shan't matter that he's thrown five scoreless innings over his first two spring appearances.
Here's what Rizzo said on Sirius XM's MLB Homeplate on Tuesday:
"I do believe that (Strasburg's) learning curve is very, very fast but I do believe that there is a curve there so I'm leaning toward sending him to the minor leagues. I don't think that's a shock to a lot of people. I believe that he will be in the big leagues at some time this year if he progresses and stays healthy. And once he gets to the big leagues, of course, we believe he should not go back to the minor leagues. So that's kind of the progression I have with him."
Rizzo named a number of things that Strasburg needs to work on — from controlling the running game to pitching from the stretch to bunting — and it's hard to argue against some added seasoning for a 21-year-old arm. Especially since the Nats probably won't be going to the playoffs even if he's on the roster from the start of the season.
Of course, there's also an added benefit for Rizzo and the Nats to delay Strasburg's service time clock by bringing him up midseason so all the improvement areas have to be taken with that in mind. No other sport places such a professional roadblock for its drafted talent, but it's all in the name of club control, I suppose.