When Cyd gave me this gig, he told me to write about whatever tickled my fancy. Well, maybe not those words exactly, but I have been thinking about what I want to bring to you fine readers of the Outsports' Jock Talk Blog. So I thought I'd bring you a piece on an athlete you'll be hearing a lot about very soon. Today's subject is a guy who could be pitching in the major leagues by the end of the summer. Thing is, he's still in college. Say hi to San Diego State pitcher (and soon to be multi-millionaire) Stephen Strasburg.
This 6'5" goliath has been pitching since he was a kid, but he was not on anyone's radar when he graduated from high school. In fact, SDSU Coach Tony Gwynn had to be talked into taking Strasburg on the team. It's a good thing he did though, Strasburg has come into his own as a pitcher. He has been known to hit 103mph on his fastball (as an FYI, the fastest pitch ever recorded was only 1.8mph faster - thrown by Joel Zumaya). He played for the US Olympic team last year and had almost 40 strikeouts in 27 innings in his first 4 games. He threw a 23 strikeout game earlier this season against Utah. And how did he finish off his regular season? Oh, just by throwing a 17 strikeout, no-hitter.
This kid just brings it every single time he is out on the mound and there is talk he is ready to be in the majors -- right now. So, of course, he is everyone's choice for #1 pick in next month's amateur player draft. And he's already hired an agent... Scott Boras. And true to Boras form, the price tag is the highest ever for a rookie. It's believed that the price tag on Strasburg will be $50 Million over the next 6 years. And the Washington Nationals, who currently own the #1 pick, know this, which is why there is some speculation that he won't be chosen first.
Weird things happen during the draft: Terrific players get passed over for tons of reasons (money, drugs, attitude). A soon to be Hall of Fame-bound catcher who played primarily for the LA Dodgers and NY Mets who didn't get taken until the 62nd round. And there are other "can't miss" prospects that get taken very high and never amount to anything -- bring up Brien Taylor to any Yankees fan and watch their reaction. So, one never knows what exactly is going to happen.
One thing is for sure though, Stephen Strasburg is going to be taken very high and will get an obscene amount of money. And that tow-headed kid is going to become the face of a franchise... the very cute face of a franchise.