On Wednesday Stephen Strasburg reached a milestone in his 2012 season that someday could be just one of many, something people expect him to do on a yearly basis. But after striking out eight Blue Jay batters up in Toronto, and being the first MLB player this year to reach 100 strikeouts, Strasburg opened eyes as one of the best pitchers in baseball. He is on pace for a Cy Young-caliber season and he is only 23 years old.
Strasburg hitting 100 was a career high as the pitcher had both of his first two seasons shortened by injury. The century mark is actually something not all that common in the Nationals history since moving to Washington, D.C. No Nats pitchers, in fact, reached 100 strikeouts at all in either the 2007 or 2009 seasons. Only one Nationals pitcher hit triple digits in 2006, Ramon Ortiz with 104.
Strasburg is striking out 11.69 batters per nine innings this year which is tops in the entire league. In his career he now has 216 strikeouts in 169.0 total innings, good for an 11.50 per nine rate.
Striking out pitchers is great, but some guys do it a high clip and remain ineffective according to other statistical categories. Strasburg, however, has been dominant all around.
Through 77.0 innings pitched this season Strasburg ranks eighth in the National League with a 2.45 ERA and 10th overall in the majors. His eight wins slots third in the majors, his 1.04 WHIP ranks 15th, and his .585 OPS against comes in at 10th.
The Nationals ace is now around the halfway point in his expected innings limit, a good time to take stock in what he has done so far. It is still early in June, but already Strasburg is putting together perhaps the best pitching campaign in the teams brief history in town.