After an incredible decade as a Major League pitcher, Nationals hurler Stephen Strasburg’s career may be nearing a premature close. But, what exactly happened to Strasburg? Let’s take a look at the 34-year-old’s career what he’s currently dealing with.
A Look at Stephen Strasburg
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was arguably the most-hyped collegiate prospect in a decade when Washington selected the former San Diego State star and 2008 Olympian with the first pick in the 2009 MLB Draft.
It didn’t take long for Strasburg to make his mark in the Majors, as the right-hander needed just eleven starts in the Minors before being called up to the Majors. In his first start as a National, Strasburg struck out 14 over seven scoreless innings against the Pirates and cemented his place as a ace in the making.
Despite missing most of 2011 after Strasburg underwent Tommy John surgery, the Nationals ace proved to be one of the game’s most intimidating starters upon his return. From 2010-19, just ten pitchers had more strikeouts than Strasburg (1,695) and his 3.17 ERA over that span was good for 11th-best (min. 800 IP).
A three-time All-Star with two finishes in the top five of the NL Cy Young voting, Strasburg’s finest season came in 2019 when the righty won 18 games, and threw 209 innings in the regular season & another 36.1 innings for the Nationals in the playoffs. Strasburg won five games in the 2019 MLB Playoffs, including two in the World Series to help deliver Washington its first World Series title in franchise history.
After that 2019 season, Strasburg inked a massive seven-year, $245M contract with the Nationals. Rather than invest in Anthony Rendon — who was also a free agent after that season — the Nats opted to keep its homegrown ace. However, that deal has not worked out for Washington.
Since that deal, Strasburg has thrown 31.1 IP for the Nationals, most of which came during the 2021 campaign. The 34-year-old has been wrecked with nerve issues and received thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in June 2022. However, a report from the Washington Post in June 2023 indicated that Strasburg is dealing with “severe nerve damage” that has led to doubts that he will ever pitch in the Majors again.