The blogosphere has been chattering about the potential of a Strasburg call up all week.  Strasburg, the top overall pick in the 2009 draft, has been dominating the minor leagues.  Strasburg is 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings for the year – while allowing just 22 hits and ten walks.  He actually kicked his game up a notch after being promoted to AAA Syracuse – he has a miniscule 0.39 ERA with the Chiefs.

Earlier rumors had Strasburg in line for a start on June 4th against the Reds.  Later in the week, June 8th against the Pirates was the unofficial date.  The June 4th date made some sense.  It was the first home game after a road trip, and it’s late enough that it’s nearly certain Strasburg would not qualify as a Super 2.  (More on why Strasburg was sent to the minors here).  There’s some confusion on why the Nationals are choosing to push the date back until the 8th.  Strasburg seems to have nothing to prove in AAA, and they have pushed back his arbitration a year, there is no financial reason to keep him down.

The only reason I can fathom for delaying Strasburg’s debut is that he’ll have a better chance at a win.  The Reds are in first place in the NL Central, while the Pie Rats are on pace for their 18th consecutive losing season.  The Pirates don’t have the worst record in baseball yet, but they have by far the worst run differential – so it’s quite likely that Pittsburgh will be picking first in the 2011 draft.  The Nationals – laughingstocks for more years – on the other hand, are in contention in the NL East.  Can the positive energy of a Strasburg promotion push them to a division title?  I’m going to say no for this year, but watch for them in 2011.

How will Strasburg do once he is promoted?  Well, I doubt that he’ll post a 0.99 ERA in the Majors, of course.  In fact, I do think he’ll hit some rough spots during the season, once hitters get a second look at him.  Almost every rookie struggles at some point during their debut campaign.  I do think Strasburg right the ship and end the season with strong numbers – perhaps a 3.50 ERA.


The other member of the “young pitchers who signed big deals” club, Aroldis “Chappy” Chapman has experienced some struggles after a hot start to the season.  I expect the Reds farmhand to get a June call up after establishing more consistency.  It’s important to remember that the Cuban defector is adjusting to a new home country as well as playing baseball.

Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez continues to dominate the National League.  U-Ball gave up no runs in 8 innings on Wednesday night, pushing his record to 9-1 with a 0.88 ERA.  In 71 1/3 innings this year, Jimenez has given up ONE home run.  His only loss on the year was on May 9th against the Dodgers – Jimenez gave up one run in seven innings, but Clayton Kershaw and Jonathan Broxton combined for a shutout for LA.  Jimenez attempts to notch his 10th win of the year on Memorial Day against reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.  The Giants ace has struggled lately, and I’m hoping Timmmmmmmmmmmmmmy has another rough outing.

Speaking of struggles … Charlie Morton of the Pirates picked up another loss on Thursday night.  Morton is 1-9 on the year with a 9.35 ERA.  Morton has allowed 66 hits and 16 walks in 43 1/3 innings.  Morton has allowed 12 homers and has also hit four batters.  Morton’s only win this year was against the Cubs – who are somehow 1-5 against the hapless Bucs.