By Ivan Berliant
Naturally, when a highly touted prospect makes their Major League debut it is met with skepticism, and why shouldn’t it? We were led to believe that such anticipated debuts of pitchers like Kerry Wood or Mark Prior would transcend into hall of fame careers. Even our experiences last year with Matt Weiters and David Price proved disappointing, and I’m still waiting to see what all the hype is surrounding the Orioles’ catcher (.246 AVG/4 HRs/17 RBIs in 2010).
With that said, Tuesday’s debut of Stephen Strasburg, and to a lesser extent Mike Stanton, put many cynic’s predications to rest, including my own.
In an article written prior to Strasburg’s debut, I noted that watching the National’s rookie fire-baller wouldn’t be as exciting to me personally in comparison to that of Stanton’s.
I was wrong.
Strasburg was phenomenal, striking out 14 batters through seven innings, while only giving up two earned runs and zero walks. Yes, zero walks! His 12-to-6 curveball had Pirates buckling up more than a bus of kids on their way to a soccer game, and even in his seventh and final inning, Strasburg hadn’t lost any steam while striking out the side.
Although it was the Pittsburgh Pirates, who as a team are hitting a collective .236 and have maybe one or two sluggers to show of the bunch (Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones), you would still think this kid has a long and prosperous career ahead of him.
As I digress, one couldn’t help but notice the impact Strasburg had on the city of Washington D.C., and it occurred to me, will he have that same impact at visiting parks? Could this rookie be able to accomplish the daunting task of selling out our very own Sun Life Stadium when he inevitably visits?
So now I propose this challenge to you Stephen Strasburg:
Can you, Stephen Strasburg, complete the near impossible task of selling out Sun Life Stadium?
Of course a match-up between Stanton and Strasburg will draw a monstrous crowd, but I don’t believe the Marlins’ rookie outfielder is up for the challenge alone. Stanton’s significance extends to Marlins’ fans, fantasy die-hards and some baseball aficionados, but Strasburg is quickly becoming a “living legend.”
So, I’m curious to know what you think, do you believe Stephen Strasburg will be able to sell out Sun Life Stadium? I know I will be there.
-Mike Stanton’s debut had the makings to overshadow Strasburg’s. If the rookie could of hit the go-head home run against the Phillies’ Brad Lidge in the top of the ninth, we would’ve had some different headlines here in South Florida. Stanton went 3-5 at the plate with a run, he showed promising defensive ability and electric speed on the bases. Scouts say Stanton has the power of Ryan Howard, and Jayson Stark of ESPN noted on 560 WQAM this morning that he believes Stanton will ultimately be better than Braves rookie Jason Heyward.
-Other notable 2010 rookie call-ups: Neil Walker (Pittsburgh Pirates), Starlin Castro (Chicago Cubs), Mike Leake (Cincinnati Reds), Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves), Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants) and Neftali Feliz (Texas Rangers).
-David Price is 9-2 this year while posting a 2.23 ERA/57 Ks/1.17 WHIP.
–Strasburg’s next start is against the Indians on Sunday June 13.
-Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson match up again tonight, the last time these two faced off Halladay pitched the twentieth perfect game in Major League history.