When To Expect Stephen Strasburg

It's easy to forget just how quickly Stephen Strasburg has risen through the minor leagues. This time last year, he hadn't even been drafted; one record setting contract and seven minor league appearances later, it's safe to say he's ready for the major leagues. 

Before tonight's start, he had combined for a 1.29 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 across the upper minors. Tonight he outdid himself, no-hitting the Norfolk Tides through six innings. Strasburg added seven strikeouts and walked one batter, just the third baserunner he has allowed in 12 Triple A innings.  

So when can Nationals fans expect Strasburg to deliver his first major league pitch? Nationals president Stan Kasten told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that it will be "soon," without being any more specific. A glance at the Syracuse Chiefs' schedule shows that Strasburg will likely start on the 17th, the 22nd and the 27th of May.

That would line Strasburg up for a June 1st start. If the Nationals keep him in the minors for three more May starts, they can call him to the majors on June 1st. That would almost certainly be late enough to prevent Strasburg from becoming a Super Two player and earning millions more through arbitration. However, calling Strasburg up in May would give him a chance at Super Two status.

In theory, the Nationals could make money by calling their phenom up. As USA Today's Mel Antonen reported this week, attendance figures and merchandise sales have spiked wherever Strasburg has pitched. This could happen in Washington, too, but the Nationals have just five home dates remaining in May, and they would only be able to start Strasburg once on their upcoming homestand. 

It seems much more likely that the Nationals will keep Strasburg in the minors for three more starts, save themselves a few million and call on the phenom to face the Astros in Houston June 1st.  

23 Responses to When To Expect Stephen Strasburg Leave a Reply

  1. I heard on MLBNetwork it would around June 10th.

  2. NFA_Brian 5 years ago

    You really think the Nationals will waste his major league debut on the road?

    If he starts 6/5 at home versus Cincinnati, the Nats get 6 of his first 8 starts at home.

    If as MLB Network believes, it’s 6/10 versus Pittsburgh, it’s 5 out of 7 at home

  3. Pseudonymus Bosch 5 years ago

    No, the Nationals will NOT start Strasburg for the first time in Houston. I live in Houston. If Strasburg was making his major league debut here instead of Washington, I’d go bananas. I’d buy a hundred tickets.

    But if he started in DC, Nationals fans would by 41,888 tickets.

  4. there is zero chance that the nats let him debut on the road. i am thinking June 8 home against the pirate.

    • gwells 5 years ago

      or june 6 against cincinnati, which would be on his regular 4 days rest.

  5. Oh! Right! Strasburg! Mike Leake made me forget about him.

  6. smoltz29brave 5 years ago
  7. With the Nats actually (gasp) in contention it may be advantageous for them to do whatever is necessary to keep things going, and what they need most is pitching. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they decide to call him up to pitch on their next homestand, which is May 19-23. It’s a tough call.

    • stop they wont be in contention by the end of the year.

      • They were never as bad as their record last season, and there are significant areas of potential improvement coming, not to mention the 19 wins already in the books. I’m no Nationals fan but even I can see that they have a chance at a winning record this year.

  8. Chris Solberg 5 years ago

    Teams often give pitchers their first major league start on the road so there is less pressure on them and to prep them for their first start at home. I agree with Ben, Astros.

  9. East Coast Bias 5 years ago

    Man, should I pick him up in my fantasy league or not. Decisions decisions…

    • If he’s available on the waiver wire then yes.

    • Triteon 5 years ago

      I can’t believe he’s available! He was picked up in our keeper league the first day he was available last year.

  10. jwsox 5 years ago

    considering he has a multiyear deal already in place whats the point in waiting to bring him up..he was probably sent down to the minors to give him some extra time

  11. Guest 5 years ago

    I’m probably wrong, but considering he already has a major league contract, the Nat’s would have to pay him in full whether he is in the minors or not…

  12. smoltz29brave 5 years ago

    Didn’t Strasburg get a guaranteed contract from the Nationals? Cot’s says it’s 4 years at 15.1 million, with yearly salaries already worked out.

    So does that mean when his contract is done he goes to arbitration for two more years until he reaches the required six for free agency, or does he go right to free agency? Either way, super two status shouldn’t affect him. Am I missing something?

    • bustercherrie 5 years ago

      That would seem to make sense to me, but what I don’t get is what if Strasburg needed more time. Like, granted he has the stuff, control and complete package to be in the MLB, but what if it took him 3 years to get to the majors? Then that would have used 3 out of 4 of his deal? Or does the deal not kick in till he is in the majors? I think that if he only could get arbitration twice because of his deal the Nationals would have had him up way early. I don’t think it has to do with the arbitration, I think it is more them making sure he is ready. I could be missing the entire point though, you know… be completely out in left field :-)

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      AFAIK, arbitration eligibility is determined by MLB service time, not contract status. Had he started in the majors this season, he would have two years of arbitration after his contract expired.

  13. @NotRizzo 5 years ago

    I’m going with May 22nd vs Baltimore, his next start would be in his home town of San Diego Friday, May 28th and he’d get another start vs the hapless Astros before pitching 6 of his next 8 at home. Either way he has about 16 starts left if he has about a 130 IP limit for ’10 so he’ll be deactivated on or about 8/30 anyway – if that happens does September count towards service time?

  14. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Here’s how his contract works (at least I think) …The $7.5m portion is a bonus. It is paid out over the schedule listed in Cots regardless of what Strasburg does or where he pitches.The rest of his contract looks like this:– 09 – $0.4m– 10 – $2.0m– 11 – $2.5m– 12 – $3.0mSo, he’s already been paid for 09. His paycheck for ’10 is set at $2m. Let’s say he becomes a Super-Two. That would mean that he earns $2.5m in ’11. In ’12 he gets paid as a Super-Two. Generally, that last year of the contract is voided and the player instead heads to arbitration. Thus, the increase in salary to the Nats would be the difference between the $3m they already owed him and his arbitration award (let’s call it $10m). By calling him up to pitch in 3 games in May the Nats will have cost themselves an extra $7m.Again, that’s hypothetical. Who knows for sure if he will hit Super Two or if he will be worthy of a $10m arb award. The numbers are provided as an example only.

    • bustercherrie 5 years ago

      Ok that makes more sense to me. I knew about Super-Two, but I wasn’t sure if it could change that contract if he hit the time requirement. I understand now.

  15. 1. Strasburg would be a Super Two AFTER 2012 (part of 2010 + 2011-12), and that salary is not part of the current contract. And for him to get $10M as a super-two he’d have to do something crazy like win 2 Cy Young Awards his first two full seasons.

    2. A June 1 callup would actually risk Super Two status for 2013. Here’s the details … link to mlb.fanhouse.com

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