It is readily apparent to the Nationals and their fans the immediate impact pitcher Stephen Strasburg has had on the team since he made his major league debut June 8.
What is more amazing is the soon-to-be 22-year-old’s potential impact on corporate America.
In today’s Sports Business Daily, Strasburg is already ranked as the number four most marketable baseball player after only eight big league starts.
The Daily asked 49 corporate brand managers, marketing and branding executives, agencies and baseball media to list the top five most marketable players in MLB.
According to the survey, Derek Jeter was far and away the most marketable, followed by Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Howard. Strasburg also received the second most first-place votes (3) in the survey.
That is pretty stunning says SBD assistant managing editor Brian Helfrich, considering Strasburg did not even begin the season on the 25-man roster.
“It is fascinating how corporate America has shown how marketable a player he is. He really is ranked number four on potential alone” because he has only been in the big leagues for 41 days.
The other players in the top five are established stars Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard.
In the 2005 survey, SBJ had pitchers like Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson in the top ten. In 2010, only Strasburg and Tim Lincecum cracked to the top ten.
Helfrich says Strasburg is so marketable right now because he has that clean cut image and is respectful to players and fans. He suggests that Strasburg can reach beyond baseball’s normal fans and there is an opportunity available to Strasburg to be that most marketable star as baseball’s best players get older.
The sports world is looking for the new “good guy” after recent public relations disasters by the likes of Tiger Woods and LeBron James. Helfrich thinks Strasburg can fit that bill.
This survey shows that the Nationals are being noticed, not only with the play of Strasburg on the field, but also by fans of other teams and corporate America.
Here in Cincinnati, various television and newspaper outlets mentioned the Reds were facing the Nats this week and then that Strasburg was pitching on Wednesday.
How many times in the last few years have the Nationals even been mentioned in the national media? Barry Bonds’ record-setting home run and the Nats picking number one in the draft are at the top.
Now they are being noticed for something they’ve done on the field, and that is a big deal.