Nats' General Manager on Hand for Strasburg No-Hitter
"He's at the top of our list as of right now," Washington acting general manager Mike Rizzo, who was at San Diego State on Friday as Strasburg no-hit Air Force, told FanHouse on Saturday. "We've got less than a month before the draft. He's a great talent."
Washington holds the top pick in next month's draft, and Rizzo has now seen Strasburg in person three times.
"He's got a great arm," said Rizzo, a former scouting director for Arizona. "He's got two great pitches [fastball and slider] and had no need for a changeup and didn't throw one.
"The pinpoint command I didn't see, but he has general control."
Strasburg struck out 17 and walked two against the Falcons (14-32 overall, 3-13 in the Mountain West Conference, not exactly a baseball hotbed). His fastball topped out at 98 mph on the Nationals' radar gun.
"He really, really, really competed his butt off," Rizzo said. "He sniffed the no-hitter at the end of the game and went after it.
"It showed me a lot, how he turned it up a notch or two when he smelled it."
Some say Strasburg could step into Washington's rotation as soon as he signs. Rizzo wouldn't address that speculation, but his report indicated Strasburg could use some polishing.
"He elevated the fastball at times and got away with it," Rizzo said. "He gets a lot of swings and misses outside the strike zone. In the National League East – [Carlos] Delgado and [David] Wright – those guys don't fish."
One executive who has seen Strasburg said he gets swings-and-misses with his slider but few called strikes and gets away with his hard, moving fastball down the middle at times – two more areas that could use refinement.
If/when Washington takes Strasburg atop the draft, it will have to deal with agent Scott Boras. Rizzo said he talks to Boras frequently – they were together at Saturday's Southern Cal-Cal State Northridge game as Rizzo was doing more scouting and Boras was watching his son Shane play for the Trojans – but have never discussed financial terms for Strasburg.
That's not surprising; unlike some other agents, Boras doesn't do under-the-table pre-draft deals.
The draft is June 9-11.