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Schilling: Stephen Strasburg could be MLB's best right now

(By Kevin Rivoli - AP)

A lot of media members are attempting to remain measured and responsible even in the wake of Stephen Strasburg's demolition of minor-league competition. Count Curt Schilling in the opposite camp. Schilling has Strasburg well on his way to 17 Cy Youngs and maybe a few World Series MVPs before his Hall of Fame induction.

"Since I was 5-years old I played the game, loved the game," Schilling said on ESPN Wednesday morning. "I've never seen anything like this. Never. Nothing close. Not at that age, that polished. If he comes up to the big leagues - which he will in the next probably month, before the halfway point of the season - he'll immediately potentially be the best pitcher in the game. He's that polished.

"And I don't know him. Like a lot of guys, you judge from far away. I've heard nothing bad about the kid. He's got a great work ethic, he's got a pitcher's mind. Because there's a lot of guys who get to the big leagues who throw 96 who never get people out. He's pitching smart, which is rare for a kid his age. He commands the baseball. At that level, that stuff, to command the baseball, I've never seen anything like it."

Well. That's not a bad review. But what of his speed, Curt?

"I've seen a lot of guys throw 98 in Double A, and they never go any farther. This guy commands a 100 mile-an-hour fastball. And when I'm talking about velocity as a pitcher, I'm not talking about, oh, once in the fifth inning he hits 100. He'll hit triple digits first through ninth. And he's got that ace mentality, where I've seen him ramp up and throw a pitch five miles an hour than the pitch before it, in his last inning of work."

Huh. Then Schilling was asked how Baseball Jeeeeezus would fare when he faced his first dash of adversity. I figured Schilling would argue that adversity would turn into a fiery black hole and then be whisked away to another dimension upon approaching Strasburg's brow. Instead, this is what he said.

"I go back to the mentality," Schilling said. "He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's gonna deal with adversity for the first time in his life at the big-league level. It's not gonna be in the minor leagues. That's gonna come back to his upbringing and what kind of kid he is. And again, everything I've heard, he's good, he's great, he's got a good head on his shoulders.

"He won't have extended bad periods of time, again, because he commands the baseball so well. He'll be able to go out in the big leagues on nights where his other two or three pitches are not working, and win with just a fastball."

So I guess I'm just curious whether Schilling thinks the kid is any good.

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 12, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Next: Terrence Austin's pedigree


"What does that Yankees fan know anyway" -Martha Coakley

Posted by: seriesoftubescleaner | May 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Nice to hear from a crazy future hall of famer

Posted by: DMoney28 | May 12, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Sidd Finch he's not. This kid has not even pitched in AAA, and his stay in AA was not completely rosy. I would not put money on him for rookie of the year.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | May 12, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Um, @Nemo24601, Strasburg made his AAA debut last week. It went pretty well:

Posted by: EdTheRed | May 12, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Schilling born-again? Is he ready for the second-coming?

Posted by: grimesman | May 12, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Sidd Finch he's not. This kid has not even pitched in AAA, and his stay in AA was not completely rosy. I would not put money on him for rookie of the year.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | May 12, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

? 3-1 w/1.64 ERA; 27 K's in 22 innings with only 6 walks. yeah, not too rosy.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 12, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile a belly itchier said he does not think Strasburg can be a MLB star...

Posted by: alex35332 | May 12, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

not the first to point this out, but Nemo, get a clue.

He pitched in AAA already.

get your head out of your A$S, or blacksburg - same thing.

Posted by: aaarmstr | May 12, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

There's no way to watch SS and not think "holy (enter your version)! how good is this kid anyway?!"

The fact's are, he's extremely young in baseball terms, to be dominating at the level he is, with the command he has. Tonight, in the first inning, he walked a batter, then got 3 outs, in 15 pitches!! That's CRAZY! (update just in, thru 4, no hitter, sheesh)

Now, the calm side of me says, it's obvious he has a chance to be great. What's left is to sit back and try to enjoy his career and perhaps pray a little that he never has a long term injury. Short of injury issues, this kid has too many good pitches, and too much command to not be one of the best 5 pitchers, next year. Injury is the big what if. Nothing this kid has done to date suggests he head is in the wrong place. Personally, I plan to enjoy his career for as long as it lasts.

Posted by: Rogueone | May 12, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg -- you are a dope.

Posted by: dbunkr | May 12, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Nemo, it's people like you who cause me to lose faith in our world.

Posted by: Thundershock | May 12, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Six innings, no hits, one walk, seven strikeouts - bring him up for the Os series.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 12, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

There have been a lot of great pitchers come along but were dragged down by the mediocre teams they played for...Not to say this will happen to on the rise and slowly getting better which is a plus...

Time will tell...just like the gotta play to win.....

Posted by: pentagon40 | May 12, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Schilling is right but SS should still be pitching in the minors for a few more games.

He needs more experience in the minors.

He will get hit around once in awhile and I would rather it be in the minors than the majors

Posted by: Bious | May 12, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I find it incredible beyond words that some still think he needs more experience in the minors. By what standard do you judge him? Oh, yeah, perhaps he needs to get his batting average to over .400 first and to start hitting home runs. Let's face it, the majors is the only place that he will be tested and he seems more ready for that level than any other pitcher I know of. At the major league level we finally have a season where wins are counting. Strassburg can add to the real possibility of a special season this year.
His next three starts would be much better in a Nationals' uniform. The arguments for minding the Super 2 status are assuming that starting pitchers never miss time to any injury in the next several years. And to counter the argument that it is about "control" of the player the Lerners would be well advised to lock this player down with a Zimmerman style of contract once he shows he can handle the major league batters.

Posted by: driley | May 13, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

It's not just super two status at issue, though that's certainly a factor. Strasburg will have a hard innings cap this season. In the majors, they can't just pull him out of a no hitter after six innings and 80 pitches. They're trying to win games. So the earlier they call him up, the sooner he has to stop pitching at the end of the season.

Posted by: jcj5y | May 13, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Nemo24601 wrote: "Sidd Finch he's not. This kid has not even pitched in AAA, and his stay in AA was not completely rosy. I would not put money on him for rookie of the year.'

Well, you're right about one thing: Sidd Finch was a fictional character, while Strasburg is quite real.

I'm not sure what you mean by "not even pitched in AAA." He's had two starts and COMPLETELY dominated in both. And his AA "career" was just fine.

You might want to consider following the sport you post comments about. I'm just saying.

Posted by: kemp13 | May 13, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Ovie and Strasburg in D.C.! It's nice to stink so you get the #1 draft choice.

Posted by: randysbailin | May 13, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Remember Kwame Brown, randysballin. Remember Kwame Brown.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | May 13, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Getting the #1 pick is how most teams improve.

Think the Lakers would have been the Lakers without getting Magic Johnson #1 in 1979 and James Worthy #1 in 1982?

Great draft position can make a good front office look spectacular.

Posted by: leopard09 | May 13, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Forget about pitching, he's batting .375. Put him in the leadoff spot.

Posted by: crokey | May 13, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

let's tap the brakes on best in all of baseball until he faces major league hitters. The early returns are great, but the difference between AAA hitters and big leaguers is huge. I do agree that they should bring him up sooner rather than later though. It appears he has the mental makeup to handle some adversity and scouts don't have a huge amount of tape on him yet to figure out tendencies.

Posted by: sleastacks | May 13, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Remember Kwame Brown, randysballin. Remember Kwame Brown.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | May 13, 2010 11:57 AM

Kwame was a completely unproven shot in the dark. Strasburg is more like a Lebron James #1 pick, we've heard about him for 3 years before the draft and we knew he was head and shoulders above any prospect talent-wise in a decade (or more).

Of course there is the chance he fails. But only because nothing is guaranteed.

WELCOME BACK JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: poconnor | May 13, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Go Nats!

Posted by: epostell | May 14, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

What everyone keeps forgetting is that he is a POTENTIAL STAR...If you are over 30 then you can remember a number of players hyped while in high school and the minors who never panned out...

Sure he has all the tools but time will tell whether he makes it...

Posted by: pentagon40 | May 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

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