His description is almost too unrealistic to believe, even for a movie. A 6'4", 220-pound junior in college with a fastball regularly clocked at over 100 mph, multiple major leauge-caliber pitches, and pinpoint control. No, this is not Roy Hobbs, pre-bullet wound. And the only stage this character performs on is a true to life, substantive baseball diamond. His name is Stephen Strasburg and he's being called by many scouts, the greatest prospect OF ALL TIME.
The greatest prospect of all time? When one reminisces on all of the heralded prospects that have come and gone through baseball over the years — some that made it and more that didn't — the idea of anointing someone the greatest of all time seems overwhelming to say the least. Yankee fans remember the Brien Taylor disaster and obviously every Cubs fan is well acquainted with Mark Prior's laurels coming out of college. So is Strasburg really the greatest prospect to ever play the game of baseball? If you listen to the scouts and analyze the statistics the answer is a resounding yes.
First the stat lines: As a sophomore pitcher for Tony Gwynn's San Diego State Aztecs, Strasburg was absolutely dominant, posting an 8-3 record, a minuscule 1.57 ERA, and striking out a ridiculous 133 batters in 97 innings. In a single game against the University of Utah he notched an unheard of 23 strikeouts, baffling hitters with his loaded arsenal, for nine innings.
So far, 20.1 innings into his junior year, the pre-season All American has maintained his quotient of dominance, striking out 45 batters and walking only 4 men in that span, compiling a 3-0 record to go with his 1.77 ERA.
Strasburg was no less unhittable in his time with the U.S. National Team. In seven appearances for Team USA, Stephen was 4-0 with an astounding 0.88 ERA. In the 41 innings in which he worked to accumulate those totals, Strasburg struck out 62 batters while walking only 7, demonstrating that he possesses the command to go with his excessive power, as he helped his teammates on to a 24-0 record through various tournaments in 2008.
Because of his dominance on the collegiate level — and also with the U.S. National Baseball Team — Strasburg was selected as the lone collegiate athlete on the 2008 Olympic baseball roster by manager Davy Johnson. Helping the U.S. to a bronze medal, Strasburg was again outstanding, posting a 1-1 record with a 1.64 ERA. Although he was the losing pitcher in the marquee semi-finals battle against Cuba, Strasburg was still solid while pitching out of his rotational turn, giving up only two earned runs in four innings. In Stephen's best performance of the Olympics, he overwhelmed the team from the Netherlands in his first start of the Games, allowing one hit over seven innings and striking out five of the first six batters he faced.