Stephen Strasburg was one of the most talked about pitching prospects in recent history. Coming out of San Diego State University in 2009, Strasburg was selected with the #1 overall pick by the Washington Nationals. After bursting on the scene in 2010 and blowing hitters away with his overpowering fastball and devastating curveball, Strasburg’s fortunes quickly changed. Before he was even able to finish the 2010 season, Strasburg was shut down by the Nationals due to injury. He later had Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow. It caused him to miss the rest of the 2010 season and the entire 2011 season. When Strasburg returned in 2012, he wasn’t the same pitcher. The world watched as Strasburg struggled with his command and lacked the velocity that once defined him. Everyone was worried that this once in a generation type talent was done before he had even gotten started.
Fast forward to now. Stephen Strasburg has gotten off to a hot start this year posting a 5-0 record with an ERA under 3.00 to start off the 2016 season. Strasburg has regained his dominant form and looks to be the ace that the Nationals drafted just six short years ago. It is because of success stories like this that make Mets fans optimistic. Why Mets fans you ask? Well, the Mets main attraction, Matt Harvey, suffered a similar fate just two years ago. Harvey had to be shut down and later undergo Tommy John surgery as well. After returning to form last season during the Mets historic run to the World Series, Harvey got off to a slow start this season. Questions were being raised as to whether or not the Mets pushed him too hard too soon. His velocity was down, his command was erratic and those are qualities that observers weren’t used to seeing from Harvey. However, with the success Strasburg is having now, it gives the fans hope that Harvey too will regain his form. It is only May after all.
Another reason for optimism among Met fans in the fact that their other young ace, Zack Wheeler just had the same procedure and is nearing his return date. Tommy John Surgery has almost become a right of passage in Major League Baseball today. It seems all the young arms that come up need to get the procedure done before they really dive into their careers and establish themselves as the type of players that they ultimately become. Wheeler is slated to return later this season, probably sometime around the All-Star break. With Strasburg being one of the bigger names to undergo the procedure and return to a Cy Young caliber pitcher, it gives every team out their optimism that their young guns can return from what once was considered a career death sentence. You can’t help but root for all these young guys who go through this process and hopefully Strasburg, Harvey, and Wheeler can regain and sustain the elite level of pitching that made each of them special prospects. Tommy John surgery isn’t the death sentence it once was and guys like Strasburg, Harvey and Miami Marlins stud, Jose Fernandez, are out to prove that to the world.