On Friday night Stephen Strasburg recovered from a rough start to strikeout 13 Red Sox batters in a classic performance at Fenway Park. He set a new career high in innings pitched with 71.0 and sits pretty with a Cy Young-worthy 2.41 ERA. His career ERA now through his first 29 career games is 2.48, thats better than Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, and Clayton Kershaw.
But from all that we have seen in the 23-year-old Strasburgs young career, could it be possible that he is overrated? According to a new Sports Illustrated Players Poll, Strasburg is in fact the ninth most overrated pitcher in the majors. You can find his name along with A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Joba Chamberlain.
SI Players Polls can be one of the most unique ways to see how professional athletes view their peers. They ask the players to rank anonymously the best players, or in this case those who are mistakenly thought of as the best.
Sometimes the polls can settle a debate such as who is the most feared hitter in the game? But in this case the poll reveals something slightly different, that some MLB players resent Strasburgs success and the attention he receives. If the season ended today he would be a finalist for the NL Cy Young award, it would be hard to argue a pitcher of that caliber is in some way overrated.
Strasburg is the first real head-scratcher on the list of overrated pitchers, but he isnt the only one. Ranking behind the Nats pitcher are other quality arms such as Roy Halladay (13), Aroldis Chapman (14), Cole Hamels (15), Zack Greinke (16). Those are some of the best pitchers in the National League so you know something is up. This goes to show that if you run into some success, not everyone is going to be happy about it.
Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers.
Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.
Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS.
With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years.
Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan
The Nationals aren't certain to have ace Max Scherzer ready to pitch for Opening Day. Scherzer, 32, was unable to compete in the World Baseball Classic this summer due to a stress fracture in his right ring finger.
When he spoke to the media today at the first bullpen session of spring training, he said that the fracture has healed but the symptoms continue.
Scherzer also said he'd just started throwing again this week. Manager Dusty Baker confimed that the Nationals don't know whether Scherzer will be ready to start the season.
Any time a team's star pitcher suffers an unusual hand injury, it's cause for concern for the club and fans.
Scherzer won the NL Cy Young Award last season and posted a 20-7 record as a starter. He also led the MLB with 284 strikeouts.
Scherzer is an especially vital part of the Nationals rotation considering the injury history of Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the DL twice last season, once with soreness in the elbow that needed Tommy John surgery in 2010.
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