- Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals)
Strasburg has all the hype of a top-five MLB pitcher, but lacks the résumé. Don’t get me wrong, each one of Strasbrug’s last three seasons has been far above average, but he lacks one definitive season that proves he is elite.
Like Price, Strasburg can strike out eight batters a game without even trying too hard. Since his debut, Strasburg has averaged a rate of 10.34 strikeouts per nine innings. That is the best in the league over that period of time.
Here is something you won’t hear very often about elite MLB pitchers: Strasburg has horrible pitching mechanics. The amount of stress that he puts on his arm during his delivery could end any baseball player’s career years before it should. Many scouts and former pitchers predicted that, because of his pitching style, Strasburg would wind up getting Tommy John early in his career. This was, in fact, the case. Strasburg missed time in his rookie year (2010), but returned to action, before finding out he would need the surgery. The 26-year-old would not return until late 2011, pitching in just five major league games that year.
If Strasburg can stay healthy, as has recently, he could have his “break-out” year in 2015. I say break-out, really meaning that he could “break in” to the list of elite MLB pitchers.