His every move was watched as 44,000 in Nationals Park and millions around the world were focused on this kid who is only six months older than myself.
It was like a presidential procession as he left the dugout to warm up in the outfield as a handful of security guards surrounded him as media and fans attempted to get a glimpse of the hurler.
With all the craze and hype developing since he was drafted as the first overall pick in 2009 Strasburg handled the moment the best way he knew how, striking out 14 Pirate batters.
It was the most unique way I personally have ever watched a baseball game as I focused solely on the 6’4 220 pounds pitcher. He is straight up Nasty, with a capital N.
He throws so hard hitting the upper nineties like it is nothing. His changeup clocks in at 91. His changeup! His sinker and curveballs would make Pedro Cerrano cry. They are simply unhittable.
He gave up a two run homerun to Delwyn Young and Andy LaRoche recorded the first hit off him in the third inning. Strasburg will be great, time will tell if he will be mentioned in the same breath as the Randy Johnson’s and Roger Clemens’s and if he will end up on the Yankees. But I think it is safe to say he will be the 2010 Rookie of the Year.
A much less hyped up debut of a pair of major leaguers will also be occuring soon.
The Pirates’ outfielder Jose Tabata and pitcher Brad Lincoln will make their first appearances sometime this week.
Lincoln was the Buc’s first round draft pick in the 2006 draft, 4th overall. He’s had a solid minor league year at AAA Indianapolis going 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA. It has been his best year since returning from surgery in 2007. He has the potential to be a number one starter in the rotation but alsi has to develop himself into that role. Soemthing that homegrown Pirates pitchers fail to do.
Tabata is a unique story. He came over to Pittsburgh from the Yankees in the trade that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to New York. The Pirates also recieved Ross Ohlendorf in that swap. Tabata is best known for having a 35 year old wife who kidnaps children (long story). His on the field reputation is good as he has great potential at the plate. He is batting just over .300 with three homeruns this season. His best year came in 2008 when he arrived in AA Altoona. He hit for a .348 average. Tabata will split time in the outfield with Ryan Church, Lastings Milledge and Garrett Jones, when he is not manning first.
Both players will get early playing time by being thrown into the fire right away, I like that. That kind of development and on the job training is necessary to succeed. That is why they are up here anyway, to play.
The Pirates and the rest of Major League baseball all took a step in the right direction towards their future.
I was pleased with Pittsburgh’s draft class as I have been the past two years. It picked up who Baseball America called the two hardest throwing pitchers in the draft in 2nd overall pick Jameson Taillon and second rounder Stetson Allie. Not only do they both have sweet names, they have sweet pitches. Both can hit the 100mph mark which I think is ridiculous for both of them coming right out of high school. I still have doubts that the Pirates will be able to sign eitehr of them. They will demand a boatload of money and I am sure the Bucs will short change them. I can only hope owner Bob Nutting is ready to open up the checkbook.
I was most ecstatic about former West Virginia short stop Jedd Gyorko going 59th overall to the San Diego Padres.
I have covered Gyorko and the Mountaineer baseball team for the past two years and he is head over heels the best collegiate player I have ever seen. He leaves WVU as the best hitter in school history with a .404 Batting Average and 35 home runs. He will help the Padres up the middle as well with a good gloves and wide range.
Kaybee and Hyun Young; enjoy him. He is a pleasure to watch and an even greater guy. He stabnds just a generous 5’10” but plays much bigger. He does have a stocky build and natural raw power. He was definitely picked up because of his bat and will be able to transition from aluminum to wood nicely. He is such a nice dude who was a pleasure to talk with and develop a trusting relationship. Yesterday was a big day for him and his family yet he took time out of it to do an interview with me. You guys can read my article about Gyorko here at The Daily Athenaeum website, the official school newspaper of WVU.
Saturday and Sunday were two games that could make any baseball fan happy. The Pirates came from behind for a walkoff win on Saturday. On Sunday the Bucs got out on top early and sustained the lead until the end.
Raise your hand if your team is .500!
That little girl must be a Pirate fan because we are 7-5. Yes, its April and yes there are 150 games to be played but I will jump at any chance to get excited and the Pirates are giving me that chance right now.
The Buccos were destined for a loss on Saturday. Being down 43 in the bottom of the ninth with Francisco Cordero called upon for the save.
I thought we were done for.
Cordero is 4-for-4 in saves opportunities this year and is listed 27th on the all-time closers list.
Can’t you see why I thought we were done for?
But Cordero was erratic. Ryan Church laced a single to left, Ronny Cedeno walked and Lastings Milledge Walked. Garrett Jones stepped to the plate, battling a slump. Jones has been dissapointing fantasy owners everywhere with his lack of power which was expected after his monstrous opening day. He did come through with a hit off the wall to win the ballgame.
I was not able to watch the Pirate game on Sunday as I was covering the West Virginia baseball game. The 12th ranked Louisville Cardinals brought their own brooms to Morgantown and beat the Mountaineers up and down.
Louisville has one of the best pitching staffs in the country. On Sunday I had the pleasure of watching Gabriel Shaw mow down the Mountaineers. In seven innings he struck out six batters allowing just five hits.
Jedd Gyorko, pictured left, drove in the only run for West Virginia. Gyorko is a Morgantown native and high on many experts draft lists. He is a shortstop who will be picked up in the June draft, more than likely in the first few rounds.
Even though I was not watching the Pirates game, 13,860 at PNC Park did. The Buccos jumped out early and produced hits throughout the ballgame. Paul Maholm had a no hitter through four innings and looked the best he has all season. Octavio Dotel picked up the save even after surrendering a homerun to Jay Bruce, who hit two.
Backup catcher Jason Jaramillo brought in three runs with a double in the fifth inning. Jones struggled again, not reaching base in the game.
The Pirates remain at home to face the Brewers this week. Standing just a half game out of first place in the NL Central. This is a big series if the Pirates hope to keep their heads over water in the division and to sustain .500.
photo credit: freeclipartnow.com, nordinho.net, postgazette.com, msnsportsnet.com
Tuesday’s matchup with Duquesne was called due to wet conditions. After being covered in over two feet of snow WVU’s Hawley Field was cleared off thanks to rain and valiant efforts by the coaching staff and players.
Opening Day finally occured Thursday evening against Bryant. Ever heard of them? Don’t worry, I haven’t either.
I asked a family with Bryant gear on where they actually were located. Turns out they are from Rhode Island, very close to Providence. I joked and said “I though it was Kobes school.” The lame joke was actually was recieved by the Bryant faithful, who had a son on the theam, in fact the father even said “It’d be nce to have him nearby, we could use his money.”
From my perch in the pressbox I witnessed a thrilling 7-5 victory for the Mountaineers. At the time it was their fourth victory of the year after playing games in Florida and SOuth Carolina to open the season. SInce then WVU dropped a double header to Manhattan on Friday.
It will be a long year for the Mountaineers especially after losing seven seniors, all of whom had a major impact on offense the last four years, If it hopes to compete West Virginia will rely on Morgantown native Jedd Gyorko.
Gyorko may sound or look familiar, he was on the front page of MLB.com for a draft preview. The shorstop may just be at the top of many draft classes as he is a top player. The junior has two home runs on the year and is batting .333. He leads the Mountaineers is slugging at .571.
He has put on weight and is bulking up to add even more power to drive the ball to all corners of the field. For his draft stock to rise he will need to be better in the field and add speed.
Saturday’s game was rained out but I am hoping to get it in Sunday at 1 pm.
photo credits: msnsportsnet.com