I’ve been looking forward to tonight’s Nationals-Mets game all week for the Stephen Strasburg-Matt Harvey matchup. Obviously arguments can be made for other guys, but for my money the 24-year-old Strasburg and the 24-year-old Harvey are the two young pitchers with the most upside in all of baseball.
Strasburg has made 48 career starts with a 2.94 ERA, .224 opponents’ batting average, and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Harvey has made 13 career starts with a 2.21 ERA, .173 opponents’ batting average, and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
Among all starters with at least 75 innings since the beginning of last season Strasburg has the highest average fastball velocity at 95.7 miles per hour and Harvey ranks fourth at 94.6 miles per hour. They also rank No. 2 and No. 4 in strikeout rate during that span.
And better yet, here’s the all-time leaderboard for strikeouts per nine innings through age 24:
Kerry Wood 10.96
Stephen Strasburg 10.95
Brandon Beachy 10.57
Mark Prior 10.55
Matt Harvey 10.51
Strasburg and the Nationals are slight (-120) favorites over Harvey and the Mets.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.