Stephen Strasburg key to Washington Nationals 2022 hopes

Jun 1, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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The past two years have been a disaster for Stephen Strasburg. He was a key part of the Washington Nationals plans, but has pitched a grand total of 26.2 innings over the past two seasons. The 2021 campaign was lost as he battled various arm issues, culminating with surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

While this season has been a disaster, the Nationals have hopes that Strasburg will return to form soon. He is slated to begin throwing in November with the expectation that he will be completely ready to go by spring training.

Washington Nationals 2022 hopes may hinge on Stephen Strasburg

The Nationals are clearly not looking at a lengthy rebuilding process. They had rebuffed any calls on Juan Soto, and traded away those players who were not likely to be a part of the future. Max Scherzer may be the exception, but there is nothing saying that he cannot return in free agency.

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However, as it currently stands, Strasburg would be the Nationals’ ace heading into the 2022 campaign. That is a lot of pressure on a pitcher who, not only is attempting to come back from thoracic outlet syndrome, but has posted a 5.74 ERA and a 1.463 WHiP since signing his seven year extension.

It was not that long ago that Strasburg had been that ace the Nationals need. In his last healthy season in 2019, he led the National League with 18 wins and 209 innings, posting a 3.32 ERA and a 1.038 WHiP while striking out 251 batters. There is no questioning his talent and ability when he is healthy and able to take the ball every fifth day.

But that is the question with Strasburg. He has started 30 or more games just three times in his dozen years in the majors as he is likely to miss at least a month of action every year. Meanwhile, the track record of pitchers returning from this procedure is not exactly stellar. Nonetheless, the Nationals have to count on Strasburg to being an ace caliber pitcher if they are going to contend.

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Stephen Strasburg is expected to be completely ready by spring training. The Washington Nationals’ hopes for 2022 may hinge on his comeback.