08/21/09 9:05 PM ET
Nats share initial thoughts on Strasburg
Zimmerman presents No. 1 pick with jersey, advice
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
There is a lot of hype when it comes to Strasburg because of what he has done on the field. Strasburg, 21, went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 starts this season at San Diego State University en route to being named the Golden Spikes Award winner. He struck out 195 batters and issued just 19 walks in 109 innings.
But Zimmerman cautioned the media not to expect Strasburg to be successful right away.
"The kid's never thrown a professional pitch, yet he's supposed to win 20 games," Zimmerman said. "It's not easy. It's not fair. It's like I tried to tell him, 'Don't listen to everybody else, just go out and pitch. No one's ever been good enough to be able to come up here and win right away and be good right away.' ... People don't know how hard it is."
Catcher Jesus Flores, who is out for the year because of a right shoulder injury, said he can't wait to be behind the plate and catch Strasburg next year. Flores already has experienced catching young players such as John Lannan and Garrett Mock.
After watching video of Strasburg, Flores is convinced the right-hander will be a successful Major Leaguer.
"I'm really excited with the team, the front office for getting the deal done," Flores said. "I'm real excited to start catching this kid. I hear he can throw a 100-mph fastball and he has a nice curveball and good breaking stuff. That's the kind of pitcher you love to have.
"I've been watching film on TV and he can throw strikes and control all his stuff. They are saying that he's the best pitcher in the Draft lately, so I would like to catch him next year."
Lannan met Strasburg for the first time on Friday and came away thinking that the latter is a nice guy.
Lannan also believes the Nationals have the right people in place to develop Strasburg the right way.
"I think [the Nationals] know what they've got to do," Lannan said. "[Team president] Stan Kasten dealt with some pitchers in the past who have had some successful careers. He knows what he needs to do and he has the best interest of [Strasburg's] health in mind. Whatever they feel is the right thing to do, the right path, they'll take it. When they think he's ready, he'll be ready."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.