With the team announcement that Nationals number one overall selection Stephen Strasburg is moving on to the Syracuse Chiefs, I project the possible May starts for #37, and if all goes well, his first major league baseball start would be in early June for the home series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Jim Callis, Executive Editor of Baseball America told me it makes sense for the Nats to have Strasburg in Harrisburg for a month, Syracuse for a month, then bring him up for 100 innings before shutting him down sometime in September.
Strasburg is scheduled to make his Triple-A debut Friday night as the Chiefs host the Gwinnett Braves at Alliance Bank Stadium.
The 21-year old went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts with Harrisburg of the Double-A Eastern League. With 27 strikeouts and just six walks in 22.0 innings pitched, Strasburg posted a 4.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 11.05 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (tops in Eastern League).
Projected Triple-A starts for Stephen Strasburg:
May 7 Gwinnett Braves 7pm Alliance Bank Stadium
May 12 Norfolk Tides 7pm Alliance Bank Stadium
May 17 @Pawtucket Red Sox 12:05pm
May 22 Toledo Mud Hens 7pm Alliance Bank Stadium
May 27 @Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 5:35pm
June 1 @Buffalo Bisons 7pm
June 6? Cincinnati Reds 1:35pm
The Nationals are coming off a long road trip at the end of May with stops in San Francisco, San Diego and Houston. Some say Strasburg should make his first start in his home town of San Diego during the May 28-30 series, but that seems a little too dramatic for him in his first start. It would also deny the Nats home fans a chance to see their prized rookie for the first time at Nats Park in a game.
Another possibility would be Strasburg skipping the June 1st start on the road and give him a chance to join the Nats when they return home Friday, June 4th.
That way Strasburg could start either June 4th or 5th and then get another home start during the June 8-10 series versus Pittsburgh.
Either way, with everything going as it has so far for Strasburg, June 4,5,6 against the Cincinnati Reds seems the logical touchdown point for the beginning of Strasburg-a-palooza in Washington, D.C.
Now, if Aroldis Chapman suddenly catches fire and gets promoted to the Reds, how about a Chapman vs. Strasburg first game June 6th at a sold-out Nats Park? That would be ridiculous.