My original thesis that only Washington Nationals employees, Washington Nationals fans and D.C. media members supported the Strasburg Shutdown strategy has turned out to be incorrect.
Among others who have expressed cautious approval: noted sabermetrician Bill James. The senior advisor for the Red Sox recently answered a question about Strasburg on his Web site, and he kept the spittle to a minimum:
Hey Bill - Is there enough evidence to evaluate the decision to shut down Strasburg? If not, is the decision a reasonable response to what evidence there is? — russelfe
Well....I think it is reasonable, yes. There are three issues. There is a belief — which I gather is founded on bad sabermetrics, I don't know — that a pitcher’s injury risk explodes if he increases his innings pitched in a season by more than 30 a year.
We can get by that, based on the belief that the original research doesn’t stand up to scrutiny — but then there are two more issues. Strasburg is coming back from [Tommy] John, and he is still very young. You’re asking him to do A LOT for a pitcher one year away from [Tommy] John, and you’re exposing a 23, 24-year-old pitcher to a full workload.
If it was me, I’d err on the side of caution. I don’t know that I would have done it exactly the way the Nationals did. Maybe I would have limited him to 80 pitches a start for the first half of the year, and then cut him loose late in the year, rather than the other way. But I think I would have erred on the side of caution, rather than risking another injury.
People who are reasonable and moderate and don’t call anyone a nincompoop or suggest that they’re sick to their stomach over this issue are harder to make fun of.
Meanwhile, NPR’s All Things Considered weighed in with a 4-and-a-half minute Strasburg piece, complete with “Damn Yankees” and Bob Carpenter audio and a Scott Boras interview.
“It’s not rock-solid science, and it’s not true for every pitcher,” reporter Joseph Shapiro concluded. “But there’s enough evidence for Strasburg’s agent, his surgeon and his team to worry. And that’s why Stephen Strasburg will go along, reluctantly, with the decision to end his season before his team can get to the playoffs.”
Also, our #StrasburgShutdown contest ends this afternoon. Still time to tweet or comment.
Rick Sutcliffe has a plan for Strasburg
Rudy Giuliani opposes the shutdown
Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw weigh in
James Andrews says you can’t criticize the Nats
Mitch Williams calls the strategy “absolutely absurd”
Dennis Eckersley says the Nats have to pitch Strasburg
Stephen A. Smith says it’s disgraceful
Kevin Millar asks the Nats to look Strasburg in the eyes
Jake Peavy says it blows his mind
Scott Boras on possible legal ramifications
Rob Dibble blasts Strasburg and Rizzo
Andrea Mitchell discusses Strasburg on MSNBC