Stephen Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg
32-Year-Old PitcherSP
Washington Nationals
2020 Fantasy Outlook
For just the second time in his career and for the first time since 2014, Strasburg topped 200 innings, tossing 209 frames, fifth most in MLB. His season ended with World Series MVP honors after he set new personal highs with 18 wins and 251 punchouts during the regular season. Strasburg's fastball velocity was down a tick, but he adjusted his repertoire, throwing fewer four-seamers while increasing use of his sinker and curve. He all but eliminated his slider, relying on offspeed stuff half the time. The result was a career-high 13.4% swinging-strike rate, buoyed by a 24% mark with his changeup. After opting out of his contract and declining the qualifying offer, Strasburg entered free agency only to return to Washington on a seven-year deal. Health remains a risk, but his new arsenal could be easier on his arm. If you're willing to bet on that narrative, Strasburg can be a fantasy ace at a discount. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#28
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$Signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Nationals in December of 2019.
Struggles in return to mound
PWashington Nationals
August 9, 2020
Strasburg allowed five runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out two over 4.1 innings in Sunday's contest against the Orioles. The game was suspended in the sixth inning.
ANALYSIS
Strasburg made his season debut after working through a nerve issue in his hand over the last few weeks. The right-hander tossed four clean frames to begin the game, but things unraveled in the fifth inning. He forced an out to begin the frame but then gave up five hits and one walk, which turned into five runs and led to his removal. Strasburg said after the game that he could feel the nerve irritation during the fifth inning but didn't think that he's doing long-term damage, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. His next start should come on the road Friday against Baltimore.
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Pitching Stats
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-4%
BAA vs LHP
2020
 
 
-17%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-14%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-8%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2018vs Left .218 668 180 51 132 23 4 19
Since 2018vs Right .228 737 229 44 154 26 4 23
2020vs Left .333 9 2 0 3 0 0 0
2020vs Right .400 11 0 1 4 1 0 0
2019vs Left .192 379 112 29 66 8 3 11
2019vs Right .224 462 139 27 95 17 2 13
2018vs Left .250 280 66 22 63 15 1 8
2018vs Right .229 264 90 16 55 8 2 10
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-27%
ERA on Road
2020
 
 
-100%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-5%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-52%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2018Home 4.15 1.13 160.1 12 7 0 10.8 2.5 1.3
Since 2018Away 3.05 1.09 183.0 16 6 0 10.6 2.5 0.9
2020Home 10.38 1.85 4.1 0 0 0 4.2 2.1 0.0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home 3.21 0.95 89.2 10 2 0 11.6 1.9 1.3
2019Away 3.39 1.11 119.1 8 4 0 10.2 2.8 0.8
2018Home 5.02 1.33 66.1 2 5 0 10.2 3.3 1.4
2018Away 2.40 1.07 63.2 8 2 0 11.5 2.0 1.1
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Stephen Strasburg
Dream11 Fantasy Baseball: Orioles at Nationals
5 days ago
Juan Pablo Aravena breaks down Sunday's Orioles at Nationals game for Dream11 contests.
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5 days ago
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Dream11 Fantasy Baseball: Orioles at Nationals
6 days ago
Juan Pablo Aravena breaks down Friday's Orioles at Nationals game for Dream11 contests.
Mound Musings: Checking in on AL Bullpens
14 days ago
One week in, Brad Johnson evaluates bullpens in the American League, including in Minnesota where Taylor Rodgers should continue to be the primary closer.
Dream11 Fantasy Baseball: Blue Jays at Nationals
16 days ago
Juan Pablo Aravena breaks down Tuesday's Toronto Blue Jays at Washington Nationals matchup for Dream11 contests.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
It has now been four consecutive seasons that Strasburg has failed to make 30 starts. He is fortunate that he gets to pitch behind the best pitcher in baseball and does not have the pressure of being a staff ace, but that does not stop some fantasy players from drafting him like one hoping this will be the year that Strasburg finally gets healthy again (narrator's voice: he won't). Last season, the non-fastball offerings were solid, led by a terrific curveball, but the fastball was barely average by pitch run values. That was concerning given the fastball was one of the best in the league by that same measure the previous two seasons. His fastball velocity was down a few ticks as he returned from a neck impingement last season, but he still posted a 3.43 ERA and had a 29% strikeout rate. With great talent comes great risk.
Last season turned out to be the best of Strasburg's career by most measurements, as he posted full-season career-bests in ERA (2.52), WHIP (1.02) and WAR (5.6), while topping 175 innings for the first time since 2014. He lost nearly a month to a nerve impingement in his right elbow during the second half, but he closed out the regular season with a 63:10 K:BB, 0.84 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 53.2 innings over his final eight starts after returning from the DL, and was dominant in two playoff starts against the Cubs. As expected, Strasburg reduced the use of his slider in 2017, opting to throw more curveballs with the hope of reducing the wear and tear on his elbow. Since the start of the 2013 campaign, Strasburg has averaged just under 170 innings annually, but his cumulative workload during that five-year span ranks him 30th in MLB (848.1 IP). Once again, the talent will make him a top-10 starting pitcher in most drafts despite the ongoing concerns about his health.
For two tantalizing, fleeting months to begin the year, it looked like Strasburg was finally going to put it all together. He won his first 10 decisions, posted a filthy 11.1 K/9 and 4.3 K/BB in 106.2 first-half innings, and surprisingly took himself out of the 2017 free agent market by signing a seven-year, $175 million extension at the beginning of May. Then he missed a month with an upper back strain, and when he got back on the mound in June, the magic was gone. A brutal outing in Coors Field in August led to a seemingly inevitable DL stint due to elbow inflammation that effectively ended his season, and his final line was much the same as it had been in 2015, featuring a stellar strikeout rate that didn't seem to be in sync with a merely good ERA and WHIP figures over fewer than 150 innings. Strasburg's arsenal remains exceptional, with a 95 mph fastball contrasting with a devastating high-80s changeup and low-80s curve, but the slider he threw 17.1 percent of the time was blamed for his latest injury issues, and he vowed to throw it far less in 2017.
Dubbed "The Orchid" (awesome, but fragile) by ESPN's Tony Kornheiser, Strasburg has had six DL stints in a six-year career, including two in 2015. Seen as the second coming on his way up, he’s logged just one 200-inning season. Yet despite the drawbacks, he’s unquestionably elite when he does pitch. Aside from ERA indicators like FIP, which suggest he was great in 2015 (2.81), even the most basic measurements point to something special with an 11.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. A non-cancerous growth was removed from Strasburg's back after the season, and it may very well have contributed to his injury issues in 2015, including a strained neck from late May. It’s hard to put him in the class of aces with multiple 200-inning seasons, but his skills say he’s right behind them. The cost will be lower in 2016, too.
While it wasn't the breakout season his owners were likely expecting, Strasburg's 2014 was still his most successful to date, in no small part due to the fact that he managed to stay healthy. His 215 innings pitched and NL-leading 242 strikeouts (tied with Johnny Cueto) were career bests, as was his 1.8 BB/9 rate. Although his 3.14 ERA wasn't exactly elite, he certainly didn't hurt owners in that category, and his 1.12 WHIP actually landed him in the NL's top 10. Strasburg's arsenal (94-97 mph fastball, absurd high-80s changeup, and knee-buckling low-80s curve) still makes scouts drool, but he's finally showing signs of adding some savvy to his repertoire as well. Given that he won't turn 27 until mid-2015, there's little reason to think that he's hit his peak already. Health willing, top-tier ratios to match his strikeout rate should be on their way sooner rather than later.
Oh, the agony of being a Stephen Strasburg owner. He tossed a career-high 183 innings in 2013, with a plus strikeout rate, ERA and WHIP, yet somehow managed to win just eight games. He had an injury scare to boot, although the eventual culprit seemed to be nothing more than bone chips in his elbow. All the tools are there for him to be among the game's elite pitchers, but until he actually strikes out 200 batters or wins 20 games in a season, there are going to be question marks. Of course, those same question marks could make Strasburg a relative bargain in 2014 if he does finally put it all together.
Despite his team-mandated innings cap, Strasburg still returned ace-like numbers, winning 15 games and striking out nearly 200 batters with solid ratios. He may only be scratching the surface though. His .311 BABIP seems ripe for a drop given his ridiculous stuff, and without the distraction of a workload restriction the 24-year-old could improve in areas like groundball and walk rates. He still needs to prove he can handle a full season's workload of course, but that lack of a track record is the only thing keeping him from being the first starter off the board come draft day.
Strasburg spent most of 2011 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but did manage to throw 24 innings with the Nationals as a part of that process. As expected in the first year, Strasburg’s velocity was not all the way back to his 2010 level, but he did average 95.3 mph and touched 99 mph on occasion. Additionally, he cut his breaking ball usage in half, which contributed to fewer swinging strikes. However, his control was impeccable, as he walked only five in 44.1 innings. Look for him to come back strong in 2012, but there will be some bumps along the way as he attempts to regain his elite status.
The Double-S Express did everything he could to make everyone happy in his rookie season. He graced a few minor league parks with his presence and put on a dominating show, sliced through big league lineups after his callup like a 97-mph fastball through butter to prove that all the hype wasn't out of line, and then broke down to make all the naysayers who lobbed Mark Prior comparisons his way feel all full of themselves. Tommy John surgery wasn't the worst possible outcome as injuries go, though, and while he'll likely miss all of 2011 his projected future rotation-mate Jordan Zimmermann made it back in about a calendar year, so there's a chance Strasburg will be back on the mound in September. Don't fret too much if the Nats treat him with kid gloves in his rehab, though. This is a kid who posted an absolutely insane K/BB ratio of 5.41 in his first crack at the majors. In keeper leagues, he's worth waiting for.
Set aside the hype for a minute and look at what the Nationals actually got for their first overall pick and $15 million dollars. Strasburg hits triple digits on radar guns with regularity, has a plus curve and a changeup which is already OK even though he barely needed to use it in college, knows where the ball is going when he throws it, and has the big-game mentality to go out and rack up a 17-K no-hitter in his final home start for San Diego State. His inability to stay healthy in his Arizona Fall League stint is a bit worrisome, but none of the injuries were serious or directly arm-related and he'll have all winter to heal. The Nats have indicated they aren't going to rush him, and considering the state of the team they certainly have no reason to, but given what he could already do on the mound as a 20-year-old "not rushing him" could mean keeping Strasburg out of the major league rotation all the way until May. The specter of Mark Prior hangs over him (there are some similarities in their mechanics) but even Prior had a couple of very good big league seasons before breaking down, so at least in the short term if there were even such a thing as a can't miss pitching prospect, Strasburg would be it.
More Fantasy News
Cleared to start Sunday
PWashington Nationals
Hand
August 7, 2020
Strasurg (hand) will make his season debut Sunday against the Orioles, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Completes sim game
PWashington Nationals
Hand
August 5, 2020
Strasburg (hand) completed a 32-pitch simulated game Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Simulated game scheduled
PWashington Nationals
Hand
August 4, 2020
Strasburg (hand) will throw a simulated game Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Completes bullpen session
PWashington Nationals
Hand
August 2, 2020
Strasburg (hand) completed a 31-pitch bullpen session Sunday and felt "really good," Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Throws on flat ground again
PWashington Nationals
Hand
August 1, 2020
Strasburg still isn't feeling any more pain in his hand and threw on flat ground Saturday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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