Starter Stephen Strasburg was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2019 World Series, announced shortly after the team clinched its first championship in franchise history on Wednesday night in Houston.
Strasburg played a crucial role, delivering six strong innings to outduel Justin Verlander in Game 2. He came back and pitched into the ninth inning to best Verlander again in Game 6, keeping the Nationals’ World Series hopes alive to force a Game 7. Strasburg became the first pitcher to reach the ninth inning in a World Series start since Matt Harvey in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series against the Royals.
It’s been a long time coming for Strasburg, He was famously shut down before the 2012 postseason, his first full season in the majors, which caused a lot of controversy. Since then, however, Strasburg has established himself as one of the very best starters in baseball and had developed a reputation as a postseason stalwart. After his Game 6 performance, he now holds a career 1.46 ERA with 71 strikeouts and eight walks across 55 1/3 career innings in the playoffs.
Strasburg must now decide if he wants to stick with the Nationals after helping them win it all, or if he wants to opt out of his contract to pursue more options as a free agent. He inked a seven-year, $175 million contract extension with the Nationals in May 2016, but it included language that allows him to opt out after the 2019 and 2020 seasons. There is no doubt that his stock has risen, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him opt out.