Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Strasburg top pick

The Washington Nationals have selected pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first pick in baseball's amateur draft.

Considered one of the most talented prospects in the event's 45-year history, Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA this season for San Diego State, leading the Aztecs to their first postseason berth since 1991.

Featuring a fastball that has been clocked at 102 mph, Strasburg led Division I pitchers with 195 strikeouts in 109 innings. He was the only amateur on the U.S. Olympic baseball team that won a bronze medal last summer.

Signing the right-hander could be a challenge for the Nationals, however, because agent Scott Boras is sure to seek a record contract.

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[8/18/09] WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals knew they needed to sign No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, and they did.

They needed him because of his pitching talent, his 100 mph fastballs and knee-buckling breaking balls. They needed him to ramp up the remaking of a last-place team on pace for a second consecutive 100-loss season. And they needed him to create a good vibe around a team that's suffered sagging attendance at a new stadium and all manner of bad publicity.

The easy part was drafting Strasburg in June. The hard part was getting him to agree to a contract by the deadline of midnight as Monday turned to Tuesday.

Washington got it done, agreeing with Strasburg on a record-breaking contract worth $15.1 million over four years. The struggling team and the hard-throwing right-hander resolved everything at "11:58 and 43 seconds," Nationals president Stan Kasten said.

"People thought it would take to the last minute," Kasten said, smiling. "We didn't even need that last minute."

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