Nationals take Strasburg
SECAUCUS, N.J. - Drafting pitcher Stephen Strasburg was the easy part for the Washington Nationals. Signing him could be much more difficult.
Strasburg was selected with the first pick in baseball's amateur draft last night, a move that was long expected. Considered one of the most talented prospects in the event's 45-year history, the righthander features a fastball that's been clocked at 102 miles per hour.
"He's a tremendous pitching package," Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We weren't going to pass on the best player in the draft."
But signing him might be a major challenge, because agent Scott Boras is sure to seek a record contract. Teams have until Aug. 15 to sign draft choices, otherwise they lose their rights.
Strasburg went undrafted out of high school, but some think he has the ability to go straight from college to the big leagues, including Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, his coach at San Diego State.
"I think he's a lot closer than people think," Gwynn said. "He's got the kind of stuff, the kind of baseball savvy, he could be successful."