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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Strasburg, after some actual thought

OK all you Sabermetrics fans. You win. I'm coming aboard. There's no getting around it anymore. You can't read a simple newspaper story without some weirdo stat in there so I might as well jump on the train full force. I've even created my own Sabermetric (is that what you call it?).

More on that later.

Let's face it, as long as Jee-sus didn't come out today and give up long home runs (he's not Tyler Walker) or throw underhand or something else rash, my initial response was going to be:


After a few hours to absorb it all and think and change my shorts after that last pitch, I can offer this:


And add this: OHMYGOSH!

Dude looked pretty good, huh? Not perfect but, hell, pretty darn close. Sure, after the pitching we've seen thus far this spring, a pregnant moose throwing sidearm would have looked good. But I think we can all concur that Jee-sus aced his first test.

Which leads us to my brand-new Sabermetric: The SWS Factor.

That's Seriously Wicked Shit Factor. Strasburg's is pretty high. You measure it by how far your jaw bounces off the ground after watching someone pitch, and then you factor in the ballpark divided by the wind chill and then multiplied by the crowd count to the third power. SWS Factor, I like it.

Another way to measure the SWS Factor without a lot of complicated math is to just watch the daggone game. My bud Mark Zuckerman replied to my previous post with Strasburg's reported pitch speeds. For those who didn't see: Fastball: 96-98, Breaking ball: 80-81, Change-up: 90-91, Two-seamer: 94-95.

OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH. OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH. I think the differentials will become even greater as the spring and season progress.

That'll be some SWS.

I remember during the Nats first season going to see a July contest against the Astros. The Nats were still in first place but you knew it was a matter of time.

Roy Oswalt, holder of a very high SWS Factor, toyed with the Nats. One pitch 97. The next in sloowwww motion at 67. And so on, all night. Speed changes. Movement. The works. We sat in the stands and shook our heads. No way you'll do too much against that kind of stuff.

Strasburg looks like he has that kind of stuff. It ain't the heater, it's the stuff that goes along with the heater.

My non-Nats-fan friends love to remind me that the University of Virginia beat Jee-sus in the NCAA Tournament and some small dude cranked one out on him. True. When you throw that hard, every now and then someone is going to close his eyes and squeeze 'em real tight and make contact and send it out. It happens. I'll go so far as to predict it happens in the majors to Strasburg and he'll actually lose a game here or there.

I also remind my alleged friends that Strasburg struck out 15 in seven innings and it was a winnable game with a little offense. I'll take my chances with one home run surrendered and 15 strikeouts every night.

Today excited me more than I thought it would. You can probably tell. A high SWS Factor can do that.

As for the rest of today, I can only offer a couple of things:

*Shouldn't Tyler Walker actually retire a batter or two before he's put on the final roster? The Nats could have kept Jesus Colome if they wanted to see that kind of offensive display out of the other team. Stolen straight from Zuckerman: His ERA is now 37.13 and he's allowed an unfathomable 47.25 hits per nine innings.
Back to me: That's a high SAS Factor (Seriously Awful Shit).

*Yeah, it's early. But I'd love to be a fly on the wall the day they tell Ian Desmond he's headed down. The way I see it as of today, there's lots of players going after one available bench spot. Also, no way this team doesn't keep 12 pitchers, right?

*Sadly, the "g" key on my computer is starting to stick. That will make it hard to type "Strasburg" so I should probably get that fixed.


natsfan1a said...

I wonder whether they had the gun turned off in the SS innings. I thought maybe I'd blinked and missed the readings, because later in the game, pitch speeds were displaying on my tv screen. I caught the tail end of the second inning on the replay last night (forgot it was on - duh), and I didn't see the speed display that time, either.

(Possible TMI penalty re. the shorts. :-))

MikeHarris said...

Yeah that probably was TMI but, you know, I'm just trying to be honest here.

My Son the Braves Fan was headed out but I made him stay and watch the second inning on replay before he left. He smirked at "the pitch" and assured me Heyward or whatever that Braves' stud is named would have sent it 500 feet in the other direction.

This may actually be a fun season.

natsfan1a said...


I'm hoping it will be a fun season.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Not to bring negative energy into such a positive experience, but what are your thoughts on the updated Flo news? I know he's your favorite player, so I wanted to see whether you were still hopeful he'll play again this year (or for the Nats at all).

MikeHarris said...

I have no hope Flores will play this year. Will post more on that later. Very depressing. Jee-sus throwing to Jesus was something I was very much looking forward to seeing.

Something in that whole Flores story doesn't pass the smell test and I'm not quite sure what yet.

natsfan1a said...

Speaking for myself, I really feel for the kid (Flores).