BY ROB SHAW
To say that Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has lived up to expectations so far this season would be an understatement. The Opening Day starter is a perfect 2-0 while allowing just three runs to score in 25 innings. He also seems to be pitching with little exertion, as his 25:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio suggests fine control, but we have not seen the 100 MPH heat that Strasburg is capable of.
It is clear that hitters have little chance off him, as he has not surrendered a home run in two years and the opposing batting average remains well under .200 in his nine starts over that period. At 23 years old, Strasburg still remains very young and for that reason the Nationals are handling him with gloves.
In fact, the biggest strike against Strasburg’s fantasy value is the fact that the Nationals have already announced that he will throw only 160 innings this season. That equates to just another 135 innings of dominance for those keeping track.
Even Strasburg limited to 160 innings works out to be one of the best pitchers in fantasy baseball. However, to maximize his value, fantasy managers should consider trading the ace around the All-Star break. By then they should have enjoyed a dominant stretch with Strsburg potentially ranking as the best hurler in baseball. However, with his innings limited in the second half of the season, Strasburg becomes little better than a dominant reliever.
While the Nationals are keeping his future in mind with hopes that the franchise has many years of dominance ahead, fantasy managers must realize that Strasburg is only a short-term fix in this year’s fantasy leagues.
For more fantasy insight visit Bloombergsports.com