Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Denaburg to have TJ…


Mason Denaburg … in high school, the last time he was apparently healthy. Photo via

Tucked into this past weekend’s worth of crummy news for our team was this little gem: 2018 1st rounder Mason Denaburg is going to have Tommy John surgery, which will cost him the whole of 2021 and the early part of 2022.

Here’s a summary of Denaburg’s “career” with Washington:

  • 2018: Nats 1st round pick, selected 27th overall and given a signing bonus of $3M out of high school, more than $500k above slot.
  • Denaburg fell to #27 because he had “biceps tendinitis” in high school, which meant he missed “more than a month” of his HS season. Nonetheless he was a high projection pre-draft/pre-injury and needed to be bought out of his commitment to Florida.
  • He did not appear in 2018, presumably because his “biceps tendinitis” never abated and the team didn’t want to push him. Fair enough; sitting them after a busy senior year of pitching and showcases happens all the time with prep kids.
  • In 2019, he finally debuted professionally on June 24th, throwing 4 innings and giving up 0 runs. It remains the *highlight* of his professional pitching career.
  • He started another 6 games for the GCL Nats, throwing a combined 20.1 innings with a 7.52 ERA before he was shut down with a “sore shoulder.”
  • In the 2019 off-season, he had arthroscopic shoulder surgery to alleviate whatever started bugging him in July of 2019. I’m not sure it was ever disclosed precisely what he had done, but suffice it to say “shoulder” and “surgery” is never a good sentence with a pitcher.
  • 2020 hits, and he suffers a setback with the shoulder in Viera. He never gets a chance to take the mound after rehabbing the shoulder thanks to Covid cancelling all but “extended spring training” camp, which the Nats populated with closer-to-the-majors players who might actually help if need be.
  • Now he’ll miss all of 2021 and probably doesn’t even project to appear until May of 2022, and if he does he’ll be on a pretty severe innings limit.

So, the next time we’ll see Denaburg he’ll be in his age 22 season, his 4th full pro season for us, with a grand total of 20.1 innings and having already had injury issues with his upper arm, his shoulder and his elbow.

And I thought Seth Romero‘s “career” with us was bad….

Look, hindsight is 20/20 I get it. It is foolish to look at draft picks and play back seat driver (Albert Pujols was a 13th rounder). And, yes any pitcher can pick up an injury at any moment. I get that too. “There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect,” written by Baseball Prospectus founder Joe Sheehan in 2003, to stop people from dreaming on young arms until they matriculate. But man, Denaburg is looking like a waste of a 1st rounder. Its almost like the baseball gods have gotten the team back for being gifted three no-doubter 1st rounders in Strasburg, Harper and Rendon by giving us the likes of Denaburg, Fedde and Romero.

All we can ask as fans is … stop drafting HS kids, stop drafting players with known issues (injury or character), and just stick to the script. College players. Top programs. Solid pedigrees. No injury history.

I’m not sure what we can expect of Denaburg going forward. I can’t imagine any legitimate prospect ranking service putting him anywhere in our top prospects lists going forward. I suppose he could immediately be routed to the bullpen and, if he can regain some velocity, maybe he moves forward as a reliever? Does anyone want to bet money on whether he ever pitches in a MLB game?

Written by Todd Boss

April 8th, 2021 at 4:00 pm

43 Responses to 'Denaburg to have TJ…'

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  1. To make matters worse, Denaburg is Rule V eligible next year!
    The old adage is you draft high school bats and college arms. Still a good guideline.

    Mark L

    8 Apr 21 at 5:08 pm

  2. Two words: Mike Trout


    8 Apr 21 at 9:38 pm

  3. The Nats passed on Matt Chapman to draft a wounded Erick Fedde. They passed on Nate Pearson and Brent Rooker (who I wanted) to draft a physically and mentally wounded Seth Romero. They passed on Seth Beer (who I wanted) and Jackson Kowar (who Todd wanted) to draft a wounded Mason Denaburg. Now, there’s no guarantee that the Nats would have made the “right” alternative choice, but there certainly were very good other options when the chose to take damaged goods.

    I don’t like taking high schoolers, at all. There’s too much risk with the reward, and the development also seems to lag. It took seven years for (wounded) Giolito to figure things out. We still don’t know what we’ve got with Kieboom five years after he was picked, even though he progressed through the system in very good order. We’re now on seven years on Reetz (3d round).

    It’s tempting to say the the Nats don’t know what to do with that younger talent, but they’ve had excellent success with the young Latin kids. With the same coaching, the conclusion then becomes that their Latin scouting is better than the domestic. That’s been an issue for quite a while now.

    Oh yeah, and please draft some hitters, so we’re not having to call up total reaches like Cody Wilson and Jake Noll.


    9 Apr 21 at 10:57 am

  4. Mike Trout is a tougher one to criticize honestly; he was still a 1st rounder so it isn’t like people didn’t know who he was. Trout was a known solid hitter from a cold-weather state (New Jersey) who got limited ABs in the spring of his draft year due to a cold weather spate in the NortheEast, and he dropped a bit. Pujols story is pretty amazing, especailly given that a Tampa scout at the time was *begging* his team to draft him and quit the org when they didn’t.

    Todd Boss

    9 Apr 21 at 12:19 pm


    – Lester, Gomes, Avila, Mercer, Hand back
    – Kieboom, Harper, Barrera, Wilson out.

    that still leaves one on the active roster to go plus one DFA off the 40-man. Wonder if they’ll DFA Fedde to accomplish both tasks at once.

    Meanwhile, this leaves the mystery as to who tested positive appaerntly solved: Lester, Bell, Harrison, Schwarber remain out. Since it was initialy reported 4 tested positive … these seem like the four.

    Todd Boss

    9 Apr 21 at 3:18 pm

  6. Still missing Corbin as well — five still out, including two starting pitchers and three starting everyday players.

    I forgot about Ryne Harper during the doubleheader. He had a terrific spring. I don’t know whether they would have wanted to use him in a later-game situation, but he sure looked better in the spring than Rainey did.


    9 Apr 21 at 3:34 pm

  7. Well, the Joe Ross start is great news. That Soto fella is pretty good. Clay is making the most of this extra opportunity (perhaps putting Avilan on thin ice). The rest of the news, well . . .

    Really dumb move by Davey getting Robles thrown out in the 8th and totally changing the inning. Totally took the bat out of Soto’s hands. Maybe Dodgers would have still walked Soto to load the bases, and maybe Zim’s sharp grounder up the middle results in a double play that ends the inning . . . but maybe not. As we well know, if you amp up the stress level on Treinen, it tends to work in the opponents’ favor.

    Again, I’ll keep repeating that the Nats have too narrow a margin of error to waste these games. They’ve now lost two games when they surrendered two runs or less, and a game in which they scored six runs.


    9 Apr 21 at 6:57 pm

  8. Now Davey throws Robles under the bus for running on his own. Not smooth, Davey. You’re the manager. Give him a stop sign. Don’t assume that a 23-year-old knows what to do. Don’t assume anything. Manage the team. Unless you’re trying a double steal (with Trea and Soto due up? NOOOOO), no one is running.


    9 Apr 21 at 7:14 pm

  9. Not the first time Davey Martinez has publicly blamed a player for an inexplicable caught-stealing at a crucial moment, probably won’t be the last.

    I don’t see how the Nats can DFA Jonathan Lucroy right now given he’s one of about three players on the team who is actually hitting. And I also don’t know how long the Nats can live with Hernán Pérez on the roster; he’s struck out eight times in his last nine plate appearances, and he’s looked bad on one or two defensive opportunities as well in limited playing time.

    Part of the reason I’m bearish on the Nats’ playoff chances this season is that I don’t see how the Nats weather the inevitable injuries. The situation over the past week has kind of been a near-worst-case scenario in terms of losing a bunch of players at the same time (thankfully it sounds like everyone is OK) heading into action against some really good teams. But I mean, three-game losing streak (with another probable loss tomorrow, with Austin Voth likely making the start) and two shutouts in a row…and that’s with Robles, Turner, and Soto still in the lineup every day.

    Knock on wood, hopefully this isn’t the case and there’s nothing to indicate it is, but if Jon Lester — who has underlying conditions, obviously — has some lingering issues after getting COVID-19 and is out for a while longer than expected, how are the Nats going to even be competitive on those days Lester would be pitching and they have Fedde or Voth or whoever making those starts instead? What happens if (OK, let’s be honest, when) Strasburg blows out another muscle or tendon or nerve none of us have ever heard of before and ends up missing time? What if Turner breaks his hand again on a bunt attempt, or Juan Soto suffers the Curse of the Nationals Right Fielder at first base?

    This team as constructed has no ability whatsoever to compensate for injuries to key players. Injuries can be a body blow to any team, obviously, but the Nats have the worst farm system in the major leagues and didn’t exactly pick a top-tier crop of NRIs this past winter. We’re an injury away right now from Yadiel Hernández or Jordy Mercer playing every day. And injuries are going to happen and we’re going to have to work around them.


    9 Apr 21 at 9:51 pm

  10. The scary thing about Perez is that he had a much better spring than Mercer . . . although it seems impossible for Mercer, or anyone else, to be worse than Perez has been in the regular season. But Nats’ 40-man depth is a disaster, in both INF and OF. I mean, Antuna and Cody Wilson haven’t played above Hagerstown, and they were bad there.

    I agree that they need to keep Lucroy around for a while, even if it means keeping three catchers. I wonder what the reactivation protocols are from COVID? Could they string Avila along for 30 days on a “rehab assignment”? Lucroy didn’t even have an official AB in 2020, nor any spring training in 2021, so it’s darn impressive to be able to come in an hit MLB pitching, plus credibly handle a staff you’ve never seen before.

    If Voth gets the opportunity tonight, I sure hope he seizes it, which would also twist the dagger in Fedde a bit. Frighteningly, the odds are that they’ll still need Fedde for another start. I’d give it to McGowin instead, but they haven’t asked me.


    10 Apr 21 at 9:37 am

  11. And please give Yadiel a start or two, particularly after that ringing double yesterday. Stevenson had a good opening game but has been completely empty since. He didn’t have a good spring, either.


    10 Apr 21 at 9:39 am

  12. All the press about the Nats in the spring was that there was great talent at the top but not a lot of depth. That has proven to be accurate so far.
    The unfortunate part of this is there was a lot of depth available cheaply this offseason.

    Mark L

    10 Apr 21 at 11:15 am

  13. So, i’d like to point out that, yes the “depth” on the Nats roster is shallow right now, for various reasons. But you cannot find a team in baseball that could compete with a third of its active roster suddenly hitting the D?L, including two starters and your projected #4 #5 and #6 hitters. So, we need to cut them some slack.

    Ridiculously bad CS by Robles. Until Soto gets some protection in the lineup…. the team has be smarter.

    As for the larger issue … the roster in general is basically stars and scrubs mentality. A huge amount of money going to a few players means the team has to scramble with older vets or minor league depth. After finishing in 1st place so many times, and having sh*tty drafts over and over … well we just don’t ahve minor league depth. So we depend on aging vets who get hurt. Our playoff chances depend on a lot of veteran players having bounce back years. it can happen. but a team-wide covid issue doens’t help.

    Todd Boss

    10 Apr 21 at 1:25 pm

  14. Would be curious to see Soto and Turner flipped in the batting order tonight. Turner may be better protection than Zim (at least not worse) and then Robles won’t have to think about Soto being on deck if he gets on.


    10 Apr 21 at 4:29 pm

  15. MG, Robles will have to start thinking, that’s the need.

    Mark L

    10 Apr 21 at 6:15 pm

  16. Mark, on that particular play, there should have been no thought involved. Bench and 1B coach should have given him a hard stop sign. That’s total failure by the coaches.

    Todd, I completely agree that no organization should be expected to play while down 10 people. Even the best-stocked systems can’t cover that level of loss. The Nats shouldn’t have had to play the games with the Braves. Maybe the Dodger series, with of the players back, but they’re still without two starting pitchers and three regulars.

    As for the upper minors, I don’t know whether we’re supposed to “count” Garcia and Kieboom or not. They’ve been taken off all prospect lists but were not deemed good enough yet to make the MLB roster. So the only field position player truly from the upper minors is 33 years old. That’s frightening. No starter from the upper minors was deemed ready to help, so they just brought up relievers. And still no mention of Seth Romero, international man of mystery, but also no move to clear his 40-man slot for an actual playing player.


    10 Apr 21 at 8:21 pm

  17. To follow up on the Robles play, if Davey didn’t give him a hard stop sign, then he has no right to criticize. If you leave a play to a player’s judgment, then you back the player, no matter the outcome. Robles is an EXTREMELY aggressive base runner, and always has been. It was almost comical when I saw him at Potomac. It was like a Little League game, with him trying to goad players into a throw. He’s calmed some since then, but that’s still who his is. If you want him to stop, then you had better tell him not to go.


    10 Apr 21 at 8:26 pm

  18. And the Nats activate Corbin but don’t do anything about Fedde. They optioned a guy in McGowin who could be a very useful part of the bullpen right now and instead kept a guy they can’t trust in any situation. How often do I have to say that their margin is so narrow this season that they can’t afford these bows to Rizzo’s ego? McGowin is a better major-league pitcher right now than Fedde is. Make some tough calls, Mike. That one isn’t even that tough.


    10 Apr 21 at 9:38 pm

  19. I sense Rizzo/MLB teams wait until the last possible moment to make moves. I guess you just never know if someone will get injured at any moment.

    But yes, it does seem like the next logical move is a DFA of Fedde and a selection of McGowin. They also face a pretty interesting decision on the C situation … suddenly Lucroy looks a heck of a lot better than Avila. And they might be swapping PErez for Sanchez soon.

    Todd Boss

    11 Apr 21 at 8:35 am

  20. The Soto audition for a big Dodger contract in a couple of years is going well. Zim is on his way to Comeback Player of the Year. Mercer made more contact in one game than Perez did in four. But otherwise, it’s been bleak.

    Still, as I said when the week started, they will have held their ground about as well as should be expected if they can go 2-4 in the first two series. They have Max pitching today. That’s not to say that it’s not frustrating to have lost the games they have lost — ones in which they’ve scored 6 and 5 runs, and ones in which they surrendered only 2 and 1.


    11 Apr 21 at 9:00 am

  21. Welp, officially the worst team in the majors. Ok, ok, 6 of 162, SSS, COVID, blah, blah, whatever. Still a long way to go yes, but troubling signs:

    Shutout in 50% of their games, every single one when they’ve gotten a quality start. When they do score, the starter or bullpen hands back the runs faster than they’re scored. This was my biggest fear in letting Rendon walk after the title. They had finally become a consistent offensive team because they had quality at bats up and down the line up which allowed each night to be a different start without relying on one or two people to carry the lineup. That’s a recipe we’ve seen nearly every year BUT 2019, and looks to be the same this year. Turner, Soto and Zim are great, but Castro and Mercer/Perez are so far removed from Rendon and Howie.

    We all knew this season would be tough with the lack of depth and big unknowns in the lineup. My fear at this point is Davey losing the team if the lack of offense continues despite mostly quality pitching. (Except for Fedde start #2 this week)


    11 Apr 21 at 8:52 pm

  22. Missing two middle of the order bats, giving starts to a guy who should have been on the waiver wire, and having given a significant number of ABs to minor leaguers and backups. I’m not worried.

    I won’t pass judgement against this team until they’re at full strength.

    Todd Boss

    12 Apr 21 at 8:37 am

  23. In general, I haven’t been happy with the way the season has started, but the one silver lining I see is that despite everything, the Nats are only two games back of the Braves and Mets. The Phils aren’t known for their staying power and don’t have a deep rotation. The Braves’ starting pitching has been very suspect, and the Mets’ 4th starter got clobbered.

    And yes, the COVID absences certainly have to be taken into account, as do the rust of the delayed first starts for Max and Corbin. And yes, it has been quite significant not having Bell, Schwarber, and Harrison in the lineup. The Nats have had “clutch”/situational hitting issues, not to mention power-outage issues.

    COVID aside, they have also had some very questionable managerial issues. One has been the currently not-ready-for-prime-time Rainey now guilty of allowing two games to get out of hand. Rainey wasn’t healthy in the spring, and wasn’t good, so why do they expect him to suddenly be good in clutch situations now that the season has started? Not sure why Avilan was the call in a high-leverage situation on Sat. night, either. Also, I cannot for the life of me understand why Fedde is getting another start tonight.

    The season isn’t “lost” yet by any means. But there have been plenty of reasons to be frustrated!


    12 Apr 21 at 10:16 am

  24. I do agree with MG’s big point — that the Nats haven’t adequately replaced the Rendon and Kendrick (’19 version) level of production. About all they did in preparation for ’20 was sign Castro and cross their fingers about Kieboom. That didn’t work. They’ve now acquired Bell, and signed Schwarber to essentially replace Eaton’s production, and once again, they crossed their fingers about Kieboom. Didn’t work again with Kieboom.

    Impossible to say yet whether they’ve done “enough” with the offense for 2021, but I have my doubts. The Bell acquisition certainly looked good in the spring.

    Based on some of Rendon’s comments, I don’t know that he would have come back even if the Nats had matched the money, which they likely weren’t going to do anyway. They could have, but it would have put them over the tax line at least through this season and the end of Max’s contract. Now, one could argue that they blew it with Rendon by not extending him before the ’19 season, and that would be a fair argument since his price wouldn’t have been nearly as high after it was after his insane playoff performance. I mean, I was expecting his AAV to be around $25M, and it ended up at $35M. Some of that was also the ridiculous Arenado contract, which the Rox have already regretted and dumped. Maybe Rendon really wanted to leave, though.

    Anyway, Rendon is gone, and wishing on Kieboom hasn’t proven to be a sound strategy thus far. That noted, it really is hard to continue to win if you can’t/don’t keep developing cheap, controlled talent. They’re probably not going to be able to keep Soto, either, and Trea got a big boost with the Lindor contract.


    12 Apr 21 at 12:07 pm

  25. with Fedde toeing the slab tonight they’ll need to have the bullpen warming up in the 1st inning.

    Mark L

    12 Apr 21 at 2:46 pm

  26. Well, McGowin’s a good long man . . . except he’s in Fredericksburg now. Guys who pitched well in the spring are in Fredericksburg — McGowin, Harper, Fuentes. But they’re carrying Voth, who apparently they don’t trust, and Rainey, who should be on the IL, and Clay, who they cut at the end of the spring.


    12 Apr 21 at 2:59 pm

  27. Glad to have Bell, Schwarzenegger and Harrison back. Certainly makes the lineup feel longer and hopefully it will be. I’m excited for Bell but he doesn’t really add to what we had during the first two series since he and Zim are a straight platoon.

    KW, agree that Rendon may not have come back no matter the offer, and it doesn’t do much good pining for what once was. But, that’s the kind of hitter any team needs more of. Not prone to streaks and rarely strikes out. Howie was the same. Turner and Soto are the only ones on the 2021 squad that you can say that confidently about. Yes, they can’t all be great but it seems like Rizzo was looking for a certain type of hitter when they won it all but is back on the high ceiling, looks good in the uniform boppers again.


    12 Apr 21 at 5:02 pm

  28. Well, the middle of the lineup certainly showed up for its first game. We’ll see if it can be sustained.

    And just like that, the Nats are only .5 behind the Braves and 1.0 behind the Mets.

    And of course I was glad — and surprised — to get such a good start out of Fedde. But that doesn’t change my mind about him at all. Just gives me hope that he might actually rebuild some trade value.

    The Cards are a weirdly constructed team. They have two big contracts and not much else. Well, the Carpenter contract is also fairly big, and an albatross, which they can finally buy out of after this season. His is certainly a cautionary tale of extending anyone past the early 30s . . . which always worried me about Rendon. They’re also in the last year of the Andrew Miller contract, which is looking like sunk cost as well. It’s sad to see guys who were once so dominant just struggling to hang on.


    13 Apr 21 at 8:19 am

  29. I’d like to point out; the Nats did not “replace” Rendon like for like … but they certainly spent his projected payroll. As compared to teams who let a $20M/year player walk and then pocket the money. So the payroll allocation is on the roster, its just heavily skewed towards the top 3 starters.

    big board updated for the return of everyone and the DFA of Lucroy (which surprised me a little bit hoenstly). And they’ve re-populated the Alt site up to 60 players now.

    Todd Boss

    13 Apr 21 at 10:41 am

  30. Interesting game yesterday in Tampa Bay;

    Rangers start Dunning, then bring on Hearn; they combine for 7ip 3hits, 12Ks.

    Both former Nats farmhands.

    Todd Boss

    13 Apr 21 at 11:20 am

  31. I think it necessary to point out that Fedde was not terrible yesterday. He made it a bullpen game but at least the Nats had a chance.

    Are the Nats aware that Voth is still on their roster?

    Mark L

    13 Apr 21 at 1:56 pm

  32. Lets play with stats:

    Player A career minor league numbers: 37-49, 3.69 ERA, 1.22 whip. 754/246 K/BB in 810 career Minor league innings.
    Player B career minor league numbers: 23-18, 3.73 ERA, 1.25 whip. 372/97 K/BB in 381 career Minor league innings.

    One was a 5th round college draftee with $272k, the other was a 1st round college draftee paid $2.5M. Which is which?

    Todd Boss

    13 Apr 21 at 3:07 pm

  33. Todd, I assume Voth is A and Fedde is B. Voth got used in a mop-up roll on Tuesday night and was nearly as effective as Hernan Perez. (Two K’s for Perez? I had long given up by that time.)

    Stras was fine for three innings but then the wheels fell off. I do wonder why he was pitching on his 7th day instead of his 5th. Why screw with your aces?

    Trea, after somewhat of a hot start, has gone ice cold and is now hitting .226 with a .273 OBP and a high-for-him K rate. It’s early, so hopefully just a little dip, but it’s also concerning when other things also aren’t going so well.


    14 Apr 21 at 6:32 am

  34. Yes: A is Voth, who had much more ML experience than B Fedde, but with nearly identical numbers.

    Strasburg labors through 4 … but instead of going with “the long man” option in Voth he goes with 1-inning stints for half the bullpen. why? why not put voth in there and let him pitch multiple innings? Why allow Avilan to get creamed ona night when he didn’t have it?

    I think Martinez (and the team) is mismanaging Voth competely.

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 21 at 9:13 am

  35. KW… I share the concern on Trea. I just think he’s a streak hitter as opposed to a pure hitter like a Soto, Murphy, Kendrick. He las a long swing and needs to time it like a lot of the steak guys. One reason i really wanted Brantley this year. Team really needs another pure hitter to keep the line moving. Such a difference having 3 pure hitters in your lineup like 2019 with Soto, Rendon, Kendrick vs just one now. I don’t think we’re lacking clutch as much as we are just lacking good hitters in general to come through against good pitching in tight situations.

    Team is pretty hard to root for early this year. Feels like Soto & the average streak hitters. Or Soto & Trea plus the mercenaries. Maybe they’ll grow on me but It’s hard ot get excited about Castro, Schwarber, Bell, Harrison whoever our 3b is… it’s more fun to follow for years and root for your home grown guys. Murphy and Kendrick were mercenaries too but they were so darn good and consistent that they quickly became fan favorites. Robles home grown but hasn’t been good.

    Weirdly constructed team. How do you pay Strasburg a billion dollars when he has lost velocity every year for the last 6 years? He’s been doing it with smoke and mirrors for a while now, even when he’s on he’s just fooling people instead of dominating them. That’s worth that kind of money for a decade? Plus his injury history? We should have thanked him for the WS and reallocated that money to a younger star pitcher or two. Max is worrisome looking forward. He’ll have good games but not many aces give up 4 bombs in a game ever. And he has alot of bad games now.
    Corbin reminds me more and more of Gio with his nibbling every game.

    These games are boring and just seems like I’m waiting an hour for Soto to get up to the plate… Best hope is just for Schwarber and Bell to start crushing bombs all year to make it more interesting.


    14 Apr 21 at 10:40 am

  36. And how do you leave Strasburg in there last night when he’s obviously not right physically, at least on the night, and getting shelled soft tossing 90 mph fastballs?


    14 Apr 21 at 10:43 am

  37. Its a great question on Stras last night. They had to be asking him what was going on… maybe its reaction from the vaccine. Lord knows I got knocked on my butt for two days from the Moderna shot last week.

    As for the greater question on Strasburg and his contract … uh were you questioning his contract when he led the league in IP in 2019? when he dominated in his last start? The goign rate for an Ace in this league starts at the Strasburg contract… it is what it is. To claim he’s being “doing it with smoke and mirrors” for a while now is just not accurate.

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 21 at 11:55 am

  38. He is doing it with smoke and mirrors. He’s been very good at smoke and mirrors but that’s what he is now quite obviously.

    I commend him for it, but when you have to rear back to throw 93, he like everyone else who tops out in that range has to do it with deception. And paying him that kind of $$ forward when he’ll soon be straining to throw 89, and we start panicking every time he shakes his arm or shrugs his shoulder or creaks his neck after a pitch is a little crazy. I’m a fan but he is no longer an elite physical talent at that position. I’d rather pay that kind of crazy money to someone who can strike a guy out with a fastball they know is coming every once in a while.

    And if you’re suggesting he’s not injury prone because he led the league in innings in 2019 is short sighted. He gets hurt all the time! There is no need for Stras or Max to lead the league in innings pitched. The stupidity of our coaches leaving our star pitchers in the games too long both in wins and losses for years now has sped up their physical regression. We are always leaving these guys in a couple outs or innings too long and they often pay the price in the next start or regress later in the season for it. These guys make a million dollars every time they take the mound. So you’d think they’d try to protect their investments and maximize their investments. That’s why it would drive me crazy when Dusty would start the B team behind Max and the A team behind one of our scrub pitchers. It just made Max work even harder with no run support.


    14 Apr 21 at 12:46 pm

  39. I think its laughable that you’re claiming a guy who has never had an ERA+ lower than 110 in his career is doing it with “smoke and mirrors” …

    2020 is gone; ignore his limited data. You try pitching with pinched nerves in your wrist.

    2021 is (checking notes) 2 weeks old. If he’s hurt, he’s hurt. But lots of guys aren’t throwing at max effort in mid april.

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 21 at 2:45 pm

  40. Stras one-hit the best lineup in the NL for six innings in his first game this season. That doesn’t mean that his performance against a league-average (at best) lineup on Tuesday doesn’t concern me. But it is still early, and who knows what’s going on.

    Stras right now has a career on a trajectory to get into HOF consideration. The Nats have bet VERY big on that trajectory, on Stras having pretty much a Max-like second act of his career. If he doesn’t, he will become a significant anchor pretty quickly. But when he’s “on,” he’s WS MVP quality. That banner would not hang in Nats Park without him. Period.

    Good news thus far in 2021: Ross and Zim are two big wows thus far after sitting out 2020. Fingers crossed that this is a trend and not just a spurt.


    14 Apr 21 at 3:02 pm

  41. Max had a much better fastball at 32 than Strasburg at 32 or 31 or even 30. Max was still grunting it up to 98 when he needed it at 32. I doubt Strasburg gets it to 90 mph when he’s 36 like Max is now.

    I’m not even saying smoke and mirrors is a bad thing. It’s actually pretty impressive. But you can’t deny that most of his strikeouts and even most outs are on junk. His fastball is just for show now and hopefully nowhere near the middle.

    He’s a really effective crafty pitcher now when he’s healthy. But if that fastball keeps regressing he won’t be dominant or worth the money. He’ll be like Gio mixing in some good crafty outings when his breaking stuff is really good with lots of poor outings too.

    But to say he’s on DeGrom or Cole level dominant now is laughable. Those guys scare hitters with power like young Strasburg used to. Strasburg frustrates them more than scares them now.


    14 Apr 21 at 3:20 pm

  42. You’re comparing him to DeGrom and Cole and Scherzer. They’re basically the 3 best arms in the majors. Nobody’s saying that. But he’s among the 15-20 best arms in the game, right now, absolutely.

    Velocity is not the be all, end all. I’d rather have a guy throwing 94 with the off-speed arsenal that Strasburg has than a guy who throws 98 but doesn’t have a 3rd pitch.

    Todd Boss

    14 Apr 21 at 4:55 pm

  43. I would too… But saying he throws 94 might be generous. I’d say he occasionally humps it up to 94 now. His power is regressing, has the unfortunate condition of nagging little injuries basically yearly, and he’s making $245 million. That’s $245 Million Dollars! On the physical power decline and closing in on 33 years old. And it only took 1.2 starts for something to flare up on him again this year.


    14 Apr 21 at 7:06 pm

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