Update: The day is here … any predictions? Leave yours in a comment …
By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary
Exactly 368 days after it was revealed that he would need season-ending and career-threatening Tommy John elbow-ligament replacement surgery, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg‘s MLB return was confirmed Tuesday evening.
He’ll be back on the mound next Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers as long as his final minor-league rehab start this Thursday goes all as planned.
For those who might not remember, Strasburg was the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Nationals in 2009 after a dominating college career at San Diego State, and that same dominance continued into his minor-league career and into his rookie season. He started strong, striking out 14 in his first MLB start — just one short of the big-league record for a debut — but didn’t stop there.
Although he finished his season with a torn elbow ligament — dashing many a hopes for continued cardboard dominance — but struck out 92 strikeouts in 68 innings, recording a 5-3 record with a 2.91 ERA, just 17 walks and an opponents’ batting average of .221.
As a rookie.
On cardboard, his success predated his dominating big-league debut as his Bowman Chrome SuperFractor sold for a SuperFractor record-breaking $16,403 in May before being re-sold again for $21,403 in July. But it was not even close to being about one big card with Strasburg. Between Jan. 1, 2010, and the time of his injury, Beckett Media tracked sales totaling a cool $1,010,703.99 — an average price of $66.56 per sale of Strasburg’s cards. (Read more about all that right here.)
Again, as a rookie.
Strasburg was clearly the biggest thing on cardboard in some time — if not ever — at the time of his injury. The sudden surge of interest in his cards from traditional, non-collectors — everyday fans — certainly aided in the surge. The downfall was substantial, too, with the injury giving some speculators a second chance to get in on “Strasmas” after they missed. However, I, for one, believe that his comeback might even generate more headlines than before.
Especially if he plays like he did … as a rookie.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.