It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Stephen Strasburg was a dominant ace on the pitching mound. The 2019 World Series MVP with the Washington Nationals, now four years later, the 34-year-old right-handed pitcher’s days on the rubber could be coming to an end.
With the three-time All-Star limited to just 4.2 innings this season, Strasburg stated back in September that he wasn’t “really sure” about his playing future. Now here we are, at the end of the season for the Nationals, and team executive Mike Rizzo admitted not knowing what to expect from Strasburg, calling 2023 a “mystery” for the 13-year-pro.
Strasburg was able to make one start for the Nationals before experiencing a stress reaction in his ribs. The Nationals shut him down for the season after finding a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. It continues what’s been a pain-staking process the past three seasons, where Strasburg has made just eight starts. Washington signed him to a seven-year, $245 million contract in the 2019 offseason.
Stephen Strasburg may have taken the mound for the last time
At his best, Strasburg was a strikeout machine who could dial his four-seam fastball all the way up to 100 mph. While he settled into the upper 90s in his career, it didn’t matter how fast he was throwing, as Strasburg struck out an average of 10.5 batters per nine innings pitched in his career, including leading the majors with 242 in 2014.
If Strasburg hangs up his mitt, he will do so having played his entire career with the Washington Nationals. He had an incredible ride, going from the first overall pick in 2009 to helping the Nats make the playoffs in his first full season as a starter in 2012, in which he became an All-Star. The Nationals would make the playoffs in four of the next seven seasons, peaking with a World Series victory in 2019, with Strasburg winning MVP for the series.
No matter what Strasburg’s future holds, he’s already given enough to the city and the entire Nationals franchise. He’s a true legend of the game who will likely end up with a statue outside Nationals Park in due time.
- Stephen Strasburg career stats: 1,470 IP, 1,723 strikeouts, 3.24 ERA, 113-62 record