Dan Schlossberg at Seamheads thinks that we shouldn’t believe the hype surrounding Stephen Strasburg, noting:
While it’s true that Strasburg’s various road appearances produced sellout crowds, the kid lost three of his first five games. He’s living proof that reaching triple digits on the radar gun may impress the media but does not necessarily intimidate the opposition
The article in general warns us that Strasburg may not win 300 games (he likely won’t) and that he has not yet earned his place amongst baseball’s best (certainly arguable).
Personally, I do not think that we need to wait for Strasburg’s career to be over before we can enjoy it. This is a guy who, after all of the aforementioned hype throughout his college and minor league career, responded by delivering a 14 strikeout, no walk game in front of a sellout crowd in Washington — and on baseball’s center stage.
It’s not just that Strasburg is off to a great start, with his 2.45 ERA over his first six starts. It is how he’s doing it – 53 strikeouts, 10 walks, and 2 home runs in 37 innings. A 98-99 mile per hour fastball, 96 MPH two-seamer, an excellent curveball, and a 90+ MPH changeup.
Some of Schlossberg’s points are valid. Sure, we shouldn’t anoint Strasburg a 300 (or 200) game winner during his first season. But winning 300 games is so rare that it shouldn’t be a prerequisite to achieving greatness. And it’s fine to say that Strasburg hasn’t earned an all-star spot yet, or that he hasn’t proven he’s the best pitcher in the game.
But Strasburg is certainly not a product of hype. He has been hyped, unlike any pitcher in recent times, because of what he’s done on the baseball field, and because of the attributes he has that allow him to throw a baseball the way he does. As baseball fans, we don’t need the media to explain Strasburg’s greatness. We can see it every time he takes the mound, and we want to celebrate it while it’s happening, not when it’s all said and done.