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Stephen Strasburg promoted to Class AAA Syracuse

With Stephen Strasburg's estimated time of arrivial in the major leagues roughly one month away, the Nationals promoted their top prospect to Class AAA Syracuse today. Strasburg will make his debut Friday in Syracuse against the Gwinnett Braves.

Strasburg, last year's first overall pick and perhaps the most hyped and most talented pitching prospect ever, made his final start for Class AA Harrisburg on Sunday. Though he lost and -- by his lofty standard -- struggled, Strasburg finished his dominant reign in Class AA with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP in five starts.

Strasburg's latest progression makes his expected arrivial date in Washington all the more likely. It has long seemed probable Strasburg would make his debut in the Nationals' first home series in June, against the the Cincinnati Reds. If Strasburg remains on his once-every-fifth-day schedule, he could make six starts with Syracuse -- one more than he had with Harrisburg -- and would be scheduled to pitch Sunday, June 6, against the Reds.

Speculating a bit, if Strasburg remains on a once-per-five-days schedule -- and that's not a certainty -- here is how his schedule seems likely to unfold:

May
7 -- vs. Gwinnett
12 -- vs. New Orleans
17 -- @Pawtucket
22 -- vs. Toledo
27 -- @Scranton Wilkes/Barre

June
1 @Buffalo
6 vs. Cincinnati Reds

Again, this schedule is speculation. One thing taken into strong consideration is the belief that the Nationals want him to make his debut at home. Starting May 25, the Nationals have a 10-game, 10-day road trip to San Francisco, San Diego (Strasburg's hometown) and Houston.

General Manager Mike Rizzo and Director of Player Development Doug Harris, the duo who made the announcement via a press release, will be at Nationals Park today and should shed some light on what comes next.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 4, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
 
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Comments

What's the rush??

Posted by: scmonty1 | May 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What rush? If it weren't for the Super-2 thing, he'd certainly have come up out of spring training.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The rush on the box office, maybe?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 4, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

So Strasburg moves a step up the ladder - What was the corresponding move to clear space for him on the roster?

Posted by: BinM | May 4, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Is June 6 late enough to retain his rights for an extra year?

Posted by: JERRYB1 | May 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

June 6th is a Sunday. Makes sense, more people can see him...

Posted by: chillsonic | May 4, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Jerry, it depends on what other players come up, so they won't know for sure until the end of the season, but that's a very, very conservative date, by about 2 weeks, probably, as close to a lock as they can get.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 4, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

June 6th is a Sunday. Makes sense, that's when people usually go to see Jesus.

Posted by: tailwagger | May 4, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe the corresponding move has been announced. On a related note, even before the Strasburg move Syracuse has been carrying 15 pitchers, with only 9 position players (10 now that Morse is on rehab there). You have to wonder how long that can continue. The bullpen (9 relievers) has performed fairly solidly, so you're going to have trouble making a merit based demotion there. Regardless of whether you insist on keeping Villone (10.12 ERA in limited action), that roster needs a major overhaul. I'd like to think Rizzo is working on some trades, because we're running out of places to keep all these relief pitchers.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Plus, that date is part of my ticket plan. :)

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | May 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

June 6th is also Baseball Equipment Drive, Youth Baseball and Softball Day, and finally kids batting helmet day as well. Lots going on at the park!

Posted by: chillsonic | May 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

looking over that possible schedule, they wouldn't think to make his first start at home in San Diego would they?

Makes buying tics for June 6th all the more tempting

Posted by: Rogueone | May 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be cool for them to have him start in SD, have Tony Cwynn throw out the first pitch. Give some props to the people that delivered him to us.

Posted by: Stu27 | May 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is certain yet. One of his starts has been rained out already. If that happens again, then his first start would line up for June 8th.

Posted by: cassander | May 4, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

What's the rush??
Posted by: scmonty1
----------------------
Funniest post I've seen in quite a while!

Posted by: shanks1 | May 4, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I've got Sunday, June 6, too! Cool! (If that date holds...)

Posted by: shepdave2003 | May 4, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

had to let Storen go first to do some prescouting for a place to live and a couple of restaurants...only gonna be a month and then the two will move again.

Posted by: outrbnksm | May 4, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

June 6. D-Day.

Posted by: McLobo | May 4, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"I'm of the opinion that in sports a player deserves an oppourtunity to win or lose their job on the field not in the clubhouse or the office,now Brue may or may not be right about Duke's anticipated production for this year but, releasing him before spring training ended was unfair in my opinion and with a growing lack of african-american players in mlb well.................you leave yourself open to criticism, look Dukes has a checkered past no doubt but he seemed to be going in the right direction here no problems at least none reported,in my opinion Rizzo or a team a spokesman could have at least given a reason for his release,some site the fact that no one has even offered him a minor league contract like i said about a month ago we aren't privy to what Rizzo has said to other teams showing even a remote interest in Dukes."

Rizzo gave the reason for Dukes's release at the time. He wasn't cutting it on the field, plain and simple. Not last season, not in winter ball, and not in spring training up through the day he was released. He gave no indication that he was improving on the field and resolving the issues in his game that were exposed last season. None of the off-field stuff had any bearing on it at all, and both Rizzo and Kasten said as much.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Here's what doesn't add up nunof: Dukes looked hands-down better than Bernadina, perhaps better than Maxwell, but neither of them were cut. He was also playing a position with no log jam that's being patched over by old guys platooning.

Posted by: Section506 | May 4, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

section506:

I really want to disagree with you, but I can't.
On the one hand, I am OK that Dukes got released and that the decision to release him was baseball / performance.

But on the other hand, having nothing for plan B but Bernadina, Maxwell, Taveras, Morse, Willie and maybe even Cristian Guzman seems kinda like very poor planning.

But with or without Dukes, we'd be having the same discussion about poor production out of right field. Dukes wasn't going to get it done.

Is there some sort of conspiracy, or has Dukes been blackballed, and is that why no one else has picked him up?

I'm not one to put stock into scenarios like this, but it's hard to understand why some team doesn't take a flier on him.
Oakland? KC? Padres? Detroit? No one wants to take a shot on a guy who was a productive MLB hitter when he was 23 / 24 years old?

Posted by: Sunderland | May 4, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Zukerman said: "If he remains on a strict, five-day schedule, Strasburg's big-league debut would come June 5 against the Cincinnati Reds." So which is it?

Posted by: twinbrook | May 4, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

What's the rush? How about a winning season for the Nats? Is that a good enough reason? He's ready to face major leaguers right now, and he's served enough time in the minor leagues to preserve the team's rights to him for 2016. As I understand it, the only thing an earlier call up might affect is his Super 2 status, which would only affect whether he gets arbitration a year earlier, but if they send him back to the minors after reaching his 150 innings limit, they can save that money too. The only question is how many of those 150 innings he pitches for the Nats and how many he pitches for the Chiefs. Mike, Stan, and Ted, pretty please, if he pitches well in his first three starts for Syracuse, CALL HIM UP and let's see him on Friday, May 21 against the O's!

Posted by: Section222 | May 4, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I meant let's seem him on on Sat. May 22. Anytime that weekend will do. It will be great to debut SS against our crosstown rivals.

Posted by: Section222 | May 4, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Here's what doesn't add up nunof: Dukes looked hands-down better than Bernadina, perhaps better than Maxwell"

Really? Hands-down better? In what way? Don't just go by the small spring training sample size either. Look at their performance curves over the past couple of years, considering also where their relative starting points were and what the expectations were on them based on that. Dukes was supposed to be an established major league starter after the 2008 season, and he had regressed severely on that promise and his career was clearly on the downward slope. The other two guys, even though they had not done much yet in the majors (and in Bernadina's defense there, he was hurt all of last season) still held promise. Coming into spring training, Rizzo's expectation was that one or more of Dukes, Maxwell and Bernadina would step up and grab the RF job. Unfortunately, none of them did. But not only did Dukes not step up, he stepped back. That's why he was cut.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 4, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Whats the rush?? How about the fact were playing .500 ball right and actually contending for a change and could use another solid starter

Posted by: wadepost | May 4, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

From Rotowire
"Colton Willems, the 22nd overall pick in the 2006 draft, informed the Nationals on Tuesday that he is retiring from baseball."

Wasn't he slated as a can't miss kid as well?

Posted by: mintbucket | May 4, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

SS has already pitched 22 innings at Hburg. If they stretch him out to 6 innings per start at Syracuse, that's another 36 innings off his season maximum. That leaves only 92 innings for the Nationals this year. BRING HIM UP!

Posted by: Section222 | May 4, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

IT seems like the plan was always 1 month in AA and 1 month in AAA. Sounds like a decent schedule to me.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | May 4, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, SS on June 6th and select his catcher/right fielder on June 7th, Bryce Harper. Going to be a heck of a start for June.

Hey, just a thought, but may be the Reds will pitch their newbie on the 6th too? Anybody know the Reds rotation?

Posted by: dorseylaw | May 4, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

We need to wait a month for Strasburg's big league debut. His arrivial date should be Sun, Jul 11. On July 11 the NAT's are doing their Christmas in July Promotion. Just think Jesus MLB birth would be on Christmas (in July of course).

On the Dukes front:

In 2008 this is what was said to me by a MLB ace when he found out I was a Nat's fan. "Around the league we call them Zimm and the Crim's". This was because of all the bad apples on the team. In Dukes case it looks like he was the last bad apple. He also told me he would never sign with the Nat's because of their rep of signing those types of players. He was a free agent this year, many of you burned the keyboards wanting this guy, and he signed elsewhere.

So did Dukes leave a giant hole in RF? Yes. Did they gain respect around the league by shedding thier criminal rep? We will see next offseason.

Posted by: hansenjo | May 4, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

We need to wait a month for Strasburg's big league debut. His arrivial date should be Sun, Jul 11. On July 11 the NAT's are doing their Christmas in July Promotion. Just think Jesus MLB birth would be on Christmas (in July of course).

On the Dukes front:

In 2008 this is what was said to me by a MLB ace when he found out I was a Nat's fan. "Around the league we call them Zimm and the Crim's". This was because of all the bad apples on the team. In Dukes case it looks like he was the last bad apple. He also told me he would never sign with the Nat's because of their rep of signing those types of players. He was a free agent this year, many of you burned the keyboards wanting this guy, and he signed elsewhere.

So did Dukes leave a giant hole in RF? Yes. Did they gain respect around the league by shedding thier criminal rep? we will see next offseason.

Posted by: hansenjo | May 4, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, computer glitch

Posted by: hansenjo | May 4, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Arrgh! Not Sunday! Do it Saturday! That's the day of my 20-game plan! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | May 4, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"We need to wait a month for Strasburg's big league debut. His arrivial date should be Sun, Jul 11. On July 11 the NAT's are doing their Christmas in July Promotion. Just think Jesus MLB birth would be on Christmas (in July of course)."

Tee hee hee

But no. June is long enough to wait. I don't have tickets until the 8th, but I'm betting on Sunday the 6th. Drat.

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

Good one, hansenjo (and I have tix for the July 11 game, too). ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 4, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I heard on the Norfolk Tides broadcast today he'll face the Tides next Tuesday evening in Syracuse. GO TIDES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: memyselfI1 | May 4, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Attention Adam Kilgore; boy you journalists are supposed on top of your game but your article shows your way behind the times.

I heard on the Norfolk Tides broadcast today Strasburg will make his Triple A debut next Tuesday night in Syracuse against Norfolk.

You may want update your sources and or get better ones.

Posted by: memyselfI1 | May 4, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

memyself: The Chiefs, of whom I am a stockholder and long time fan, are reporting Strasburg's first start will be this coming Friday in Syracuse against Gwinnett. The Norfolk media are wrong.

Also, the Chiefs do not play against New Orleans. The Chiefs are in the International League, while the Zephyrs are in the PCL. The only time they would ever face each other, outside of Spring Training, would be at the season ender in Oklahoma City.

Posted by: TucsonDave | May 4, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

TucsonDave -I did hear on yesterday's Norfolk game broadcast he will make his debut Friday night but make his Norfolk debut Tuesday night.

Posted by: memyselfI1 | May 5, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

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