Stephen Strasburg May Be Next Big MLB Killer

Last Updated: June 7th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)

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After a third of the MLB betting campaign has been complete, RHP Stephen Strasburg is finally ready to make his much anticipated debut at the MLB level on Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates. As the #1 pick in last year’s MLB Draft, Strasburg blew through Spring Training and had even some of the best hitters in the game baffled by his precision and power on the bump.

In the minor league level, no one was really able to touch this right hander. He went 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. His K/9 of 10.57 in 55.1 innings of work has almost been comical. Many believe that the quality of players that he is about to be facing in the Pirates on Tuesday night is worse than what he was taking on in Double and Triple-A.

Though they’re probably right, a few things must be considered before immediately jumping on the Strasburg bandwagon.

Yes, Stephen Strasburg has had all sorts of success at both the collegiate and the minor league levels, but this will be the first time that he has had 50,000 peering eyes, national television cameras, and hundreds of media members hungry to see how he performs. The Pirates do have some scouting tape on him from minor league appearances against their affiliate teams, and unlike at the minor league level, where scouting tape isn’t handed out all over the place, at the MLB level, the second that Strasburg takes the mound, there is going to be a scout for every single team dissecting every last little thing that he does.

Strasburg Mania could only be worse if he were a Yankee. After all, the oddsmakers have lined the rookie as a -200 favorite in his first MLB betting outing this week. Granted, this is a home game, it will inevitably have a playoff type of atmosphere to it, and many expect to see Strasburg mow down a miserable lineup, but regardless of the situation, laying -200 is something that the oddsmakers consistently want you to do in baseball.

One must also remember that this is a Washington team with a bullpen that really hasn’t looked pristine 100% of the time. Closer Matt Capps looks like a human being on the mound again, and the wins have dried up just a tad for RHP Tyler Clippard as well. Manager Jim Riggleman’s main goal in this first start of Strasburg’s, and in all of his outings, isn’t necessarily to win games. Riggleman needs to take care of Strasburg’s right arm and assure that he doesn’t get worn out by throwing too many pitches or taking on too many innings of work.

That being said, five shutout innings would still only take up half of the game. Someone for the Nats is going to have to close the door. Plus, if the offense can’t get on course (and why should we feel comfortable with the 20th ranked offense in the bigs?), are you really going to want to be laying -200 with this team against anyone in baseball in any situation?

Strasburg might be the next big thing, and he might come out and totally dazzle us all on Tuesday night, but the bottom line is that he isn’t an arm that is worth backing at these types of prices that we are going to see on him on the MLB betting lines. Buyer beware, as the market on this kid simply isn’t going to be much more ridiculous than it is right now.

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Posted in MLB Baseball - Last Updated on Monday, June 7th, 2010 @ 6:20 pm (EST)
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