Stephen Strasburg’s Final Minor League Start Live Report

Myself and fellow Mop Up Duty contributor Early had the privilege of watching Stephen Strasburg’s final minor league start on June 3rd. Included are game notes and a few videos from this semi-historic occasion.

Strasburg certainly draws a crowd. The official attendance for this 1:05 Thursday afternoon game checked in at 14,774. This has to be one of the largest non-promotional crowds in recent history. Over half of the crowd left after SS was pulled after five innings.

Mini Scouting Report


His motion included very little ‘rock back’, as he pretty much lunged forward with a long stride. He uses the now dreaded inverted ‘W’ (which isn’t a big deal IMO). His arm slot is mid-range.

Stephen’s four-seam fastball was consistently around 96 – 98 on the Buffalo Gun, which would equate to 98 – 100 MPH. His command with the fastball was top notch after a few hiccups in the first.

Strasburg’s second best offering and, at least on this day, strikeout pitch was a 82 – 84 MPH curveball. He throws this hard curve in the zone and even worked the corners. The pitch had almost a slider tilt to it.

His third offering was a nasty 90 – 91 MPH slider. I would say he threw the pitch only around 10% of the time but batters could do nothing with it.

In a battle of 1st round picks, here’s Strasburg taking on former Toronto Blue Jays Russ Adams.

[youtube A9ItJmwBtQY]

Officially, holding on runners was reasoning behind Strasburg starting the season in the minors. Of course we all know it was simply an arbitration clock decision, but hey, whatever. Here’s a video of Stephen pitching with a runner on first

[youtube 3We6HujajIc]

As the video shows Strasburg didn’t even glance at the runner. In SS’s defense the runner on first would grade out as a 30 in terms on speed. Dude (Mike Cervenak) looked like he was running in quicksand.

Last Start

Here’s a video of Stephen walking off the mound after the final out in the 5th, likely his final stroll to the dugout in the minors (outside of a rehab start).

[youtube fNURvSrfocU]

On the day Stephen threw 5 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 BB and striking out 5. Only one ball was hit hard during the outing, a line drive single into left-center.


Finishes out his minor league career with a 1.30 ERA over 11 games, holding opponents to a mere .158 batting average and striking out 65 vs only 13 BB in 55.1 IP

Strasburg is set to make his MLB debut on June 8th against the Pittsburg Pirates. The Score will be liveblogging the game at 7:05 eastern

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  • Early

    Funny to note that both teams waved their DH. SS had a hit but look very amatuer at the recieving end of dish.

  • Kman, would you explain what the “inverted W” is for those who might not know what it is?

    Sounds like he has a pretty impressive hard curve. How would you compare it to AJ Burnett’s?

    • It would be easier to google search the inverted W on google.

      Basically it’s a formation of a pitchers arms when he’s about to throw the ball.

      The prevailing logic is that it can lead to injuries. I’m not totally behind the theory myself.

      As for the curve it had as much sweep as it did dip. It almost looked like a curve/slider hybrid but not an everyday slurve. Nasty pitch

  • Alain

    Goign to google now, I have no idea what it is.

  • Here’s a link to a quick write-up on the W by fellow Jays blogger Ian Hunter:

  • Early

    Isn’t an Inverted W just a M?

  • Just to put it out there, the “inverted W” is the shape a pitcher’s arm and shoulders make when “scap loading.” Scap loading, or scapula loading, is a way of improving pitching velocity by pinching the shoulder blades together. Scapula loading is when the pitcher, as part of the action of his arms lifts his arm up toward shoulder height but then also pulls his elbows back behind his shoulders…or intentionally pinches his shoulder blades together in order to provide more range of motion and added extension of the throwing arm so that more elastic energy is available to help whip the arm through.

    The “inverted W” is formed at the part of the pitcher’s motion where his elbows end up higher than the plane of his shoulders, make a shape like an upside-down W and supposedly cause considerable strain on the arm.

    Scap loading is not a natural action, but is a forced action. Forced actions where joints are pushed beyond normal ranges of motion are dangerous. Mark Prior would be a good example of a pitcher who uses scapular loading as part of his throwing arm action.

    Noted pitching coach Tom House and Tommy John surgeon James Andrews disagree that the inverted W causes harm to pitchers.