Stephen Strasburg’s debut yesterday was pretty electrifying. Supreme heat — his first pitch was 99 m.p.h. — and a good breaking ball clearly overmatched opposing hitters. As Keith Law notes, his changeup needs some work, but otherwise he’s a guy who looks like he won’t be spending a ton of time down on the farm.
But how much time will he spend on the mound in Washington this year? Peter Gammons reports via Twitter that Boras negotiated a 100-innings cap for him Strasburg this season. The team disputes this, saying that he could pitch 150-160 innings.
I’m inclined to doubt the Gammons report. Not because I don’t trust Gammons, but because Boras has a history of ineffectual beefing about the way his clients are used by teams in a way that suggests that he doesn’t have any leverage when it comes to that stuff. He’s SuperAgent and everything, but I just can’t picture any organization letting him dictate competitive decisions like that.
Figure on Strasburg being up in June and pitching those 150 innings or so.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.