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Stephen Strasburg’s career stats

Posted by Andy on August 28, 2010

Stephen Strasburg may have thrown his last MLB pitch. Although not terribly likely given the high success rate of Tommy John surgery in the last several years, I'm curious to see how his career stats stack up if indeed he's finished in the majors.

First, I just want to mention how bad I feel for the Nationals. There's nothing obviously negligent in how Strasburg was handled; this seems to be just really bad luck for a franchise that needed a little bit of good luck to go along with their good draft choice. Even if Strasburg does come back, there's a pretty good chance he won't be as dominant as he was before the injury (more on this below).

Anyway, Strasburg finishes with this stat line:

2010 21 WSN NL 5 3 .625 2.91 12 68.0 56 25 22 5 17 92 141 1.074 7.4 0.7 2.3 12.2 5.41
1 Season 5 3 .625 2.91 12 68.0 56 25 22 5 17 92 141 1.074 7.4 0.7 2.3 12.2 5.41
162 Game Avg. 14 9 .625 2.91 34 193 159 71 62 14 48 261 141 1.074 7.4 0.7 2.3 12.2 5.41
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/28/2010.

The K/9 rate of 12.2 is insanely high as a career mark. Randy Johnson is the all-time leader in this category, minimum 1000 IP, with 10.61 K/9.

Here are the only guys to throw at least 10 innings with a K/9 of at least 12.0:

Rk Player IP SO/9 From To Age G GS W L W-L% SV H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR Tm
1 Brad Lidge 559.1 12.10 2002 2010 25-33 551 1 26 29 .473 212 457 241 222 253 752 3.57 122 56 HOU-PHI
2 Rob Dibble 477.0 12.17 1988 1995 24-31 385 0 27 25 .519 89 332 169 158 238 645 2.98 129 27 CIN-TOT
3 Stephen Strasburg 68.0 12.18 2010 2010 21-21 12 12 5 3 .625 0 56 25 22 17 92 2.91 141 5 WSN
4 Jeff Sparks 30.1 12.16 1999 2000 27-28 23 0 0 1 .000 1 19 14 14 30 41 4.15 121 3 TBD
5 Enrique Burgos 13.1 12.15 1993 1995 27-29 10 0 0 1 .000 0 19 13 13 12 18 8.78 51 1 KCR-SFG
6 Kenley Jansen 11.2 13.11 2010 2010 22-22 12 0 0 0 1 7 1 1 7 17 0.77 516 0 LAD
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/28/2010.

Lidge is active and I'm sure his K/9 is only going south at this point in his career. We'll see what the future holds for Kenley Jansen but the odds are good that his numbers won't look quite this good at the end of the current season.

In history, there are only 18 pitchers with more IP than Strasburg while also maintaining a WHIP as low as his 1.047 and an ERA+ as high as his 141:

Rk Player IP WHIP ERA+ From To Age
1 Walter Johnson 5914.1 1.061 147 1907 1927 19-39
2 Ed Walsh 2964.1 1.000 146 1904 1917 23-36
3 Pedro Martinez 2827.1 1.054 154 1992 2009 20-37
4 Addie Joss 2327.0 0.968 142 1902 1910 22-30
5 Mariano Rivera 1135.2 1.001 205 1995 2010 25-40
6 Billy Wagner 887.1 1.001 185 1995 2010 23-38
7 Rafael Soriano 383.0 1.008 155 2002 2010 22-30
8 Huston Street 361.0 1.042 145 2005 2010 21-26
9 Jonathan Papelbon 352.2 0.995 231 2005 2010 24-29
10 Takashi Saito 292.1 1.026 202 2006 2010 36-40
11 Jocko Flynn 257.0 1.051 160 1886 1886 22-22
12 Joakim Soria 243.1 1.003 216 2007 2010 23-26
13 Mike Adams 220.2 1.033 167 2004 2010 25-31
14 Perry Werden 141.1 0.955 151 1884 1884 22-22
15 Pat Neshek 125.0 0.960 148 2006 2010 25-29
16 Andrew Bailey 124.2 0.906 248 2009 2010 25-26
17 Sergio Romo 119.2 0.986 162 2008 2010 25-27
18 Neftali Feliz 86.0 0.872 158 2009 2010 21-22
19 Stephen Strasburg 68.0 1.074 141 2010 2010 21-21
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/28/2010.

Many of these guys are still active, which tells you something: they are good enough to keep pitching but it's likely that their rate stats such as WHIP and ERA will decline over time and they'll fall off this list. It's likely that Strasburg will come back and pitch, but not quite as well, and fall of this list too.

As for Strasburg's future, the parallels with Kerry Wood are stunning. Both came into the league with huge fanfare and both had some exceptional games in their first years, such as Wood's 20-K game in his 5th career start. In their first seasons, their K/9 were similar (12.6 for Wood, 12.2 for Strasburg) as were their H/9 (6.3 for Wood, 7.4 for Strasburg). Both seasons ended in Tommy John surgery. And Strasburg has a chance to win the Rookie of the Year award as Wood did in 1998.

Many people view Wood's career as a lost opportunity given his injury and drop in effectiveness afterwards. I'm not so sure that's fair, though. First of all, did you notice who is second all-time to Johnson in K/9? It's Wood, at 10.36. He's also 10th in career hits allowed at 7.06 per 9 IP. Among active pitchers, only Johan Santana and Javier Vazquez have more seasons (5) than Wood (4) with at least 200 strikeouts.

The bottom line is that Wood didn't become the slam-dunk once-in-a-generation Hall-of-Famer that many hoped and expected, but he still put together a really good career. He had numerous injuries after the Tommy John surgery and those hurt him.

If I had to guess, I'd say that Strasburg will come back and be good, but not quite as good or as durable as the best pitchers during his career. Hopefully the Nationals will still get several good years out of him.

45 Responses to “Stephen Strasburg’s career stats”

  1. BSK Says:


    I didn't follow him game by game, but were there any starts that were severely hampered by the injury that ultimately is sidelining him? I know he had a couple bad games and I THINK a few of those he left early with injury. If there was a way to filter those out, it'd be interesting to get a sense of what he's capable when fully healthy, even if he's never fully healthy again.

  2. Andy Says:

    Do you mean Wood or Strasburg? I don't think there were any indications of Strasburg's injury until it happened although clearly (in hindsight) he should have been shut down for the year after he got pulled the first time. Ironic that the guy who told Strasburg to suck it up is the other guy on that K/9 list above (Dibble). Wood's injuries in the years after his TJ surgery were like Mark Prioir's....tough to tell if they were related or not.

  3. Thane Says:

    Wow, look at who else is on that ERA+ and WHIP list! Time for a HOF poll for Strasburg?

    In all seriousness, this is clearly a devastating loss for baseball, but it raises questions about how a lot of young pitchers are being trained. People were predicting arm problems for Strasburg since his first start. He has a very similar motion to Mark Prior, both of whom raise that back elbow up above the shoulder to create an inverted "W" shape with their arms. Other recent hot prospects with arm trouble have had a similar motion. Are there any examples of pitchers who had long careers with that motion that puts so much strain on the shoulder and arm?

  4. Michael J. Hayde Says:

    I strongly suspect that the Nationals have had more injured pitchers in their 5+ seasons than any other MLB team. Counting Strasburg, they had five go down this year alone (Stras, Lannan, Martin, Olsen, Marquis)! Does anyone know of a list (Injured Pitchers and their teams, by season) anywhere on the web, so that I can affirm or disprove this hypothesis? Thank you.

  5. Michael J. Hayde Says:

    Sorry, SIX Nats pitchers went down this year... forgot Atilano.

  6. TheGoof Says:

    Tommy John AFTER the surgery had a hell of a career, and all from age 33 onward.

    Before: 124-106 2.97 2,165.7 IP 1,273 K 116 ERA+
    After: 164-125 3.66 2,544.7 IP 972 K 107 ERA+

    In the seasons after the surgery, he averaged 12-9 3.66 182 IP despite just 69 K, and that average includes the strike year and his short age 43 and age 46 seasons. He actually averaged slightly more innings after the surgery and a better record. Of course, like Rickey Henderson or Mariano Rivera, there's really no comparison to Tommy John, but it does offer hope for the kid.

    TJ compared to others age 33 onward:

    Guys whose whole career were like his post-surgery career:

    He was this very good pitcher who missed a year in his 30s and then added Red Lucas' career.

  7. Zachary Says:

    I am a biomedical engineer, and my area of interest is human biomechanics. Much of interest in the field was generated by pitching, so I've spent a significant amount of time studying throwing. My opinion on Strasburg is somewhat detailed, but I can sum it up as: while I would not classify his style as ideal, this injury is a most likely a result of a mid-season change rather than an inherent problem with his presumably "natural" motion. While others may legitimately disagree with my individual interpretations and assessments, I do know human biomechanics and my mistakes will occur in matters of opinion, not in factual statements regarding the subject. That's just my area of professional expertise. An example is while one may disagree with my ideal moment of arm transition from below to above shoulder, I am correct when I say that damage (if it occurs) WILL happen during that transition and is increased when it occurs too late. I'm not trying to destroy the opportunity for debate or comments, but I don't want you to waste your time trying to fight me on matters of mechanical facts when there are plenty of other potential points of discussion.

    I do not believe people were correct to predict arm damage. While not ideal, his motion did not place him at heightened risk because it was not extreme and he did not have any bad habits such as forearm rotation. It should be noted that all pitchers are at risk due to the inherently violent and "unnatural" pitching motion. He has only been exposed to this greater risk since he began "short-arming" pitches, increasing the bend in his elbow, after his earlier shoulder inflammation (which most likely resulted from his relative lack of pitching experience and the strain of his unusually high pitching force).

    He initially had a soft inverted w (I don't like the term, but it'll do) that moved to proper throwing position before the shoulders began opening up, which is acceptable. Since the shoulder inflammation, though, the elbow has been bent much more downwards and snapped into position much more violently. The crucial issue is the rapidity of transition between arm positions that place stress on the joint, nerves, and ligaments. It's much less likely for one to sustain elbow damage with an extended arm, and Strasburg's arm has only recently varied extremely from that preferable state. The pundits may have been right when saying he was going to have problems a few months ago, but they were not correct in their explanation.

    Let me stress that the "inverted w" is NOT part of the "ideal in a vacuum" pitching motion due to the simpler alternatives and should NOT be taught as part of proper pitching instruction. It is important to remember though, that it is only really problematic if it occurs after the shoulders have begun opening up and/or creates a <<135 degree angle with the elbow and/or includes significant forearm pronation. (All of those problems - or their reversed equivalents - can occur in other motions, too, but they appear to be less common in those situations.) While those issues are seen relatively frequently when pitchers bend their elbows while their hand is below the shoulder, the "inverted w" only refers to a generalized situation in which those issues may or may not occur. It's a nice thing to know and be able to identify, but there is greater depth than that.

  8. Justin Jones Says:

    My first thought upon reading the news about Strasburg was "Well, there goes his shot at the Hall of Fame." I'm thinking that he'll need to have a Sandy Koufax-type career (or Mariano Rivera-type, if he becomes a closer) after he returns in order to have a shot. It seems that he'll be lucky now as a starter to get to 2000 career IP.

    What do we think his odds were before the injury, and after? (I'm really asking). My guess would be 20% before, and <5% now.

  9. Justin Jones Says:

    re: TheGoof@#6--

    I suspect that Tommy John's longevity after his surgery is something of an aberration compared to most other pitchers because he was a left-handed junkball-throwing, groundball-inducing pitcher who did not overpower hitters, and relied a good deal on his teams' defenses.

    I am curious to see what the ultimate career lengths of more recent TJ-surgery recipients like Chris Carpenter, A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, etc. turn out to be. I don't think any of them will get to 3000 career IP. John Smoltz reached 3400 IP, but he had already had 7 seasons of 200+ IP before his surgery. Tim Hudson had his surgery late, but is still only at ~2200 IP. Josh Johnson is finally pitching the best ball of his career, 3 years after his surgery.

  10. c.lo Says:

    Kenley Jansen is a beast.

  11. RKT210 Says:

    Any discussion of Strasburg's HOF chances at this point in his career is a waste of time. Just look at Mark Fidrych and you'll see why. Also, Andy's analysis of Strasburg's career numnbers is patently ridiculous. He has *68* innings, which is not statistically significant for a starter. Let's see how he does when hitters have seen his stuff for a few months before we annoint him as the second coming of Walter Johnson.

  12. barkfart Says:

    Shame on the Nats. That's two great young arms blown out early in a rookie year. Shame on the Nats.

  13. Zack Says:

    As a fan, Strasburg's injury is a massive bummer. It was exciting and good for baseball to have him around.

    Like Liriano, Strasburg has/had multiple plus pitches, good off-speed differential (not just a 169mph fastball) so I give him better than normal prospects for a successful return. His skillset seems/seemed diverse enough that he can still re-learn to pitch post-op. Not just a "thrower", pre-injury, so he can peel a few mph off the heater and still be very effective.

    Will Uncle Snappy still be devastating? I hope so. FBs at ~97, curves at ~82 and change at ~89 - that all might shift a little, but I think he has promise. Huge bummer, but he'll be back.

  14. Spartan Bill Says:


    before you go blaming the Nats on this (or any injury) take a look at this column by Gregg Doyle of CBS Sports.

    He contends, and I agree that these these injuries are the effect of 12 month regimens these prospects go thru as teens. Aside from Wood, he also mentions Prior and Zumaya who laso come from similar backgrounds and have had similar problems.

  15. Andy Says:

    RKT210, give me a break. I did simple searches and put up lists. I did not try to draw any long-term conclusions.

  16. Spartan Bill Says:

    does anyone know the backstory on Enrique Burgos?

    From 1983 to 1989 he barely progressed above A ball; he didn't pitch at all for 3 years and resurfaced in 1993 at age 27 and had a good year at Omaha and 5 not so good games with KC. In 1994 he had good numbers (other than walks) at Omaha, but never got a call up and in 1995 he struggled at AAA and another cup of coffee for the Giants at age 29 he appeared done.

    Then he was idle for 3 more years until the Pirates signed him and sent him to AA. 5 games and 4 IP later, he in the Mexican League.

    i have never seen a player with 2 separate 3-year caps in their career stats. Was he injured that badly? Was he overseas? Were there other issues?

  17. barkfart Says:

    spartan bill

    I'd already seen the article you mentioned- it was great. But with Zimmerman, you're missing the warm weather angle (he's from Wisconsin). I'da just thought they woulda shut him down for the season after the first scare.

  18. sean-o Says:

    Great to see Jocko Flynn on this list, although his stats are clearly inflated by the fact that almost half of the runs he allowed (64 out of 127) were unearned!

  19. Besty Says:

    I think we will start to see longer careers after TJ surgery in the future. Already guys are coming back from it even sooner and rarely do we see any relapses or subsequent elbow problems. Most guys throw harder after having it also. I had it done in 1993 as a minor leaguer and though I never played professionally except for independent ball after I did gain about 5 mph on my fastball. And without taking the proper care that I would if I was getting paid to I play today at age 43 and throw in the high 80's still. So I believe we will see guys having long careers after TJ in the coming years. Best of luck to Strasburg for a successful comeback. It is fun to watch a talent like that.

  20. barkfart Says:

    to The Goof

    I think it's too late for anyone to read this, but....

    I don't think it's fair to look at Tommy John (my favorite player ever) and say.... he wasn't that big a deal in his 30s.

    THE BIG DEAL is that he (and his surgeon) proved that a blown out elbow was not the end of the world. The first TJ surgery returned a soft-tossing lefty to his pre-injury form. Subsequent surgeries were improved to the point that flamethrowers like Strasburg could think; "I'll be back (like Wood, etc)"

  21. Richard Says:

    Weird. Riggleman was Wood's manager when he first came up, too. Luckily, Strasburg isn't going to have outrageous pitch counts like Wood and Prior did.

  22. TheGoof Says:

    Bark, he was one of my favorites too, especially in his 40s as a Yankee, but I was not criticizing his career at any point. Not sure how you read that into it. I said he was a very good pitcher before and a different, but still very good pitcher, after. Essentially, two careers of very good pitchers sandwiched around a missed year due to surgery. That he lost a year in his 30s is remarkable. And believe me, I understand what a big deal it is. My favorite player missed a year to a back injury in his late 30s, and I was praying he'd be the same after. Miraculously, after a slow start, he was. Winfield had an amazing year with the Jays more than a year later.

    And as I said, Justin, it's unfair to compare TJ to anybody because he was a historical oddball. But it's fun to do!

    Didn't Rivera have the surgery in the minors? I seem to recall that he did.

  23. Justin Jones Says:

    re: RTK@#11

    Any discussion of Strasburg's HOF chances at this point in his career is a waste of time. Just look at Mark Fidrych and you'll see why.

    Yes, it's very early in Strasburg's career, but it was obvious from the get-go that the odds were that he was going to be a much more successful and valuable pitcher over his career than Mark Fidrych. This is because, as I think Bill James pointed out, pitchers who have K/9IP rates below the league average (generally ~4.5 K/9)do not have long or successful careers, with a few exceptions--smart, junkball lefties like Tommy John or Jimmy Key, who induce tons of ground balls and rely a lot on team defense to make outs--but those guys are not really exceptions as much as they are limit-defining.

    Even at this early juncture, despite his injury, it's safe to say that Strasburg, even if his 12.2 K/9 drops a bit, will have a longer and more productive career than Fidrych did (412 career IP, 3.7 K/9).

    Also: discussing someone's Hall of Fame chances is a waste of time? I see. As opposed to....pretty much everything else that everyone talks about on this site? We're all just pleasantly diverting ourselves when we look at, think about, or talk about baseball statistics. There's nothing truly essential or productive about any of this, unless you are fortunate enough to make a living from it.

  24. Justin Jones Says:

    re: TheGoof@#22

    I agree. Tommy John was a unique, admirable player, who certainly made the most of what he had to work with.

  25. Stephen Strasburg: It Won’t End Here Says:

    [...] to Strasburg, Baseball-Reference has gone into some detail about how his 68 innings in the majors are already very statistically [...]

  26. Raphy Says:

    @16 Burgos spent several years playing in Taiwan

  27. Mike Felber Says:

    Zachary, that is interesting, but it is hard to visualize just what you mean/what is done in what part of the pitching motion, & how it all comes together. You did not mention generally using the hips to lead, driving more with the legs, basically like a swing using much more core & torque than leading w/the arms & shoulder. What do you think of the motions of Walter Johnson & Bob Feller? Johnson's looked unique but seemed remarkably easy on the arm, unlike fellow fire baller Smokey Joe Woods (who got hurt & had to switch to the outfield, successfully). Feller also had just a gorgeous motion.

    Besty, you GAINED speed after your surgery? You think that was caught & effect? And you have not slowed down at all at 43? if so, that sounds like great genetics for throwing more than anything. Impressive.

  28. JN Says:

    @22, TheGoof

    Mariano had the surgery, but doctors were surprised to find once they opened up his elbow that his UCL was fine, so they didn't replace it.

  29. Zachary Says:

    @27, Mike Felber

    You make an excellent point regarding the full-body nature of the throwing motion. I did not discuss that because I was focusing on just the arm. I have to run at the moment, but I'll try to discuss Johnson and Feller later today.

  30. TheGoof Says:

    JN, that reminds me of when they X-rayed Dizzy Dean's head, and as the story goes, found nothing.

  31. jrshooter Says:

    "RKT210, give me a break. I did simple searches and put up lists. I did not try to draw any long-term conclusions."

    "Stephen Strasburg may have thrown his last MLB pitch."

    Even the suggestion means that you DID try to draw a long-term conclusion. And a rather silly one, at that.

  32. Zachary Says:

    @27, Mike Felber

    Bob Feller's motion (which strongly reminds me of Strasburg's "natural" motion) is interesting in that so much power is drawn from the hip rotation and powerful right leg stride, and it is highly dependent on the great height of the knee lift. He does not pronate his forearm or take too long in getting into the throwing slot. Because of the tremendous leg power, Rapid Robert really did generate a noticeable and powerful catapult effect. Beautiful motion.

    Walter Johnson's motion is bizarre, but I like it quite a bit. His arm is in such perfect rhythm with his hips that it almost resembles a great batting swing. While it's a sidearm motion, which are often bad, his is different in that he never seems to bend his elbow or switch from below to above shoulder-level (the classic danger moment). The motion is also fairly easy on the shoulder, and his loose joint body structure would have made it an incredibly comfortable way to throw. Given how many innings he threw, he probably felt okay.

    Both guys have great throwing motions, so it really goes to show you that throwing excellence is based on hitting basic fundamental "checkpoints" and avoiding harmful "black marks". Depending on your body type, muscle type (fast or slow twitch), and a million other factors, it's quite possible to have a sound motion that looks completely different from the classic Roger Clemens style. (I can't stand Roger, but the man was beautiful to watch.)

    Great stuff, Mike. Thanks for giving me an excuse to look up some great videos.

  33. BSK Says:

    My most recent comment was deleted. Apparently there is not room of legitimate criticism here at BR.

  34. Andy Says:

    I deleted BSK's comment as well as mine before it because both were off the subject of baseball. I take responsibility for leading the discussion in this inappropriate direction. I apologize to BSK and to the other blog readers for this diversion. I will attempt to stay on point.

  35. Neil Says:

    Andy, by all means delete this if it appears off-topic. But is it relevant to the dicussion here that Alex Anthopoulos announced today that Brandon Morrow is being shut down for the year after his next start because his IP will exceed 30 more than last year. No specific physical problem. Any comments on this "arm management" and was he influenced by Strasborg's circumstances? After all, he's leading the AL in SO/9IP.

  36. Mike Felber Says:

    Thank you Zachary, I appreciate the feedback. I have several naive questions if you have the inclination to address them.

    Bending the elbor-is less better? Do you mean if you can bring back the upper arm enough, there is less need to move the forearm to generate power? Is the sidearm motion inherently "worse", or just not practiced much, thus often folks who do it fall into a bad form? Is one kind of motion suporior, even on average, for generating power? Are there many ways for all to throw well, or are some guys "naturally" better suited for overhand, 3/4, submarine, or whatever?

    So much of throwing really hard is genetic, though good mechanics can save your arm...But would more pitchers do better to model themselves after the usual greats, or experiment? And is there any real sign of some scientific ideas of who should throw how, by looking at body type, like musculature, bone structure, flexibility, proportions, & muscle type-or is it all trial & error?

    Also, what strikes me is those greats had little "science" to follow. They seemed to have an intuitive understanding of how to best throw. Johnson described how his whole body seemed to work together to throw, like it was what he was meant to do. There is a kind of deep knowing here that seems almost mystical...Johnson's Grandson wrote a superb Biography of him: "Baseball's Big Train". And I wonder how many never found there best "natural" delivery, since so many things are homogenized. An outlier talent may have an unusual "best" was to throw, given he may have unusual physical capacities.

  37. JeffW Says:

    I recently came across a website that analyzes pitching motions:

    O'Leary's analysis of Strasburg's motion compares him to Prior, with dire predictions:

  38. Zachary Says:

    @36, Mike Felber

    Those are actually fantastic questions, Mike, and they are at the core of pitching biomechanics.

    Regarding the elbow: bending the elbow is just fine if it occurs with the hand above the shoulder, as the arm's natural range of motion is set up to allow exactly that. Bending the elbow with the hand below the shoulder, though, can create a dangerous amount of torque on the muscles of the arm, the ligaments in the elbow, and the nerves (particularly the ulnar nerve, popularly known as the funny bone). You can feel this right now by raising your arm to form an "L-shape" in the "up" and then the "down" directions. Notice how much more comfortable the "up" direction is? You might even be able to feel a subtle "pop" in your elbow as you move into the down direction, caused by the rotation of the bones and muscles outside their "natural" state. This also occurs as you raise your arm back into the throwing slot, so you can see how the fast nature of the pitching motion can cause damage during that point of transition. This doesn't address your exact question, Mike, but I think it's necessary background information.

    The best motions don't rely on the arm to do much besides hold the ball, and that's because it so sensitive when outside its natural comfort zone. The power the forearm and the other arm muscles can generate is a pittance compared to the power the lower body generates, so the benefits are insignificant when compared to the risk.

    I also believe that there is an ideal motion for each individual. I throw 3/4 and my father threw almost vertical. That was where we were most naturally comfortable, so that's where we threw. Sandy Koufax's motion was almost perfect from a pure physics standpoint, but it was horribly dangerous for his leaner, tighter musculature. I would say most people are probably best suited for 3/4 based on average nerve action, body types, etc, but hardly all.

    Now, I need to go, but I'll think about your other questions and get back to you. Thanks again.

  39. Pete Says:

    If we're going to look at small sample sizes, I would argue that Jeremy Hellickson has pitched much better than Strasberg. Compare the numbers

    Strasberg 68-IP 56-H 17-BB 92-K ERA-2.91 WHIP-1.07 ERA+141 K/BB-5.41 BAA-.221 OPSA-.596
    Hellickson 26-IP 16-H 4-BB 25-K ERA-2.05 WHIP-0.75 ERA+207 K/BB-6.25 BAA-.172 OPSA-.470

    Here's another factor that works in Hellickson's favor: Strasberg has the benefit of facing pitchers. Opposing pitchers hit .050 against Strasberg (1 for 20) with 14 K's. Hellickson has not had that luxury. Take a look at the 'Batting Against' stats for the two pitchers:

    Hellickson 93 6 16 2 0 2 2 4 25 .172 .212 .258
    Strasberg 253 25 56 10 1 5 2 17 92 .221 .268 .328

    Now, let's remove the opposing pitchers' hitting stats from the equation to get a fair comparison between the two pitchers:

    Strasberg 233 25 55 10 1 5 2 17 78 .236 .288 .351

    Strasberg 61.3-IP 55-H 17-BB 78-K WHIP-1.17 K/BB-4.59

    Strasberg's numbers are very, very good. However, if you compare him straight up with Hellickson, the numbers aren't even close.

  40. Neil Says:

    Wow, Hellickson's early numbers are dazzling. a WAR of 1.0 after 4 GS. I especally like normalizing Strasberg's numbers by removing opposing pitchers faced. However, it is still only slightly over 1/3 of the IP of Strasberg and that is the key. Let's compare 68 IP to 68, straight up.

    Also, one could argue that Hellickson faced Baltimore and Oakland in two of his starts. 'Nuff said. Sample size too small for him and for Strasberg.

  41. Besty Says:

    to #27 Mike Felber. Yes I did pick up about five mph after TJ surgery which I attributed to the strengthening gained through the rehab. I went from averaging 86-88 as a starter before to topping out at 96 and averaging about 92 as a closer after. I haven't been clocked in a few years but I feel like I am still in the upper 80's now. I still have enough to get it by some of the college hitters I play with and against now.

  42. Mike Felber Says:

    That is pretty impressive Besty. So the speed is mostly genetic, but the specialized rehab also corrected deficits-or just optimized things that many do not. Though I think it is unusual to come back faster, so maybe the former is more accurate. But when I see what an average guy can do on a radar gun-maybe 60-compared to a pitcher, I think that aspect is mainly natural speed.

    Zachary: thanks very much! I was not able to get back here until now, will check back though. So that is saying that usually sidearm is the riskiest motion? And it is hard for me to intuitively grasp why & how certain motions are better for certain body types. It must be a few things: exact body proportions, muscle, leanness, how tight the muscles naturally are-Sandy stretched them, but was prone to tightness. It seems a Wells or Clemens, even though the latter having more muscle, were more rubber armed.

    Any other questions you address are welcome. I recall 1st throwing for a machine: you think you are gonna really bring it, but nah, few people can. I have built a 19" upper arm naturally: does little or nothing for speed!It would be cool to be able to throw heat, but few can. Even an average ML is WAY above any group norm in speed. Even if you account for county fair guns measuring at point of impact, not release, thus adding a few MPH, asking guys who run the guns, adding those MPH, watching for a while: it is rare for guys to hit the mid '80's!

  43. Rob Dibble apparently fired as Nationals’ TV analyst » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] A strange ending to story about two guys, Dibble and Strasburg, with an interesting statistical link. [...]

  44. Douglas Heeren Says:

    I think Jeff Sparks was the Mike Marshall trained guy with all the nasty breaking stuff. I feel bad for Strasburg. I'm 48 yrs old and most likely need the same type of surgery but can't afford it or taking the time off of work. I just throw though the pain(play amatuer ball). So right now I throw a split, forkball and sinker at different speeds, throwing real hard(hard for me about 80mph) causes alot of pain.

  45. Mike Felber Says:

    Get a good evaluation Douglas-hopefully something like rehab/rotator cuff work will help. But how can it be worth the risk of further problems to cause that much pain?