Although once again having to battle with various injuries throughout the year, Stephen Strasburg had an outstanding season for the Washington Nationals in 2016.
After posting the worst year of his career in 2015, and coming into the final year of his contract with the Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg had lots of pressure to put up a big season in 2016.
The former number one overall pick did just that, having arguably his best year of his career to date, and signing a seven-year/$175 million dollar extension with the Nationals in May.
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He also was named to the All-Star game in July, marking his second appearance in the Mid-Summer Classic.
Strasburg started 24 games for the Nationals in the 2016 season. He posted a record of 15-4, with an ERA of 3.60. He gave up 119 hits in 148 innings of work and struck out a very impressive 183 batters.
Strasburg started out the year firing on all cylinders, holding a 9-0 record with a 2.69 ERA after his May 29 start against the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-hander continued his success into June, but was bit by the injury bug for the first time this season.
After being scratched for two straight starts, the Nationals placed Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list, with an upper back strain. The injury was believed to have occurred when Strasburg was working out and, as a precaution, this injury kept him from pitching in the All-Star Game.
The right-hander returned to the mound on July 3 against the Cincinnati Reds, and picked up right where he left off. Strasburg went 6.2 no hit innings, and was pulled from the game at 109 pitches.
Strasburg again continued his dominance, and on August 1, after a 14-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, he had a record of 15-1, with a 2.63 ERA, and looked to be the frontrunner for the NL Cy Young award.
Strasburg struggled in his next three starts, posting an 0-3 record with an alarming ERA of 14.66. After his awful start in Colorado, giving up 9 runs in 1.2 innings of work, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list again, this time with an elbow injury.
On September 7th, Strasburg returned to the mound against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. After 2.1 innings, he exited with another elbow injury, and never returned to the mound for the rest of the season. The injury was at first feared to require another Tommy John surgery, but turned out to be a strained flexor-pronator mass, which was seen by many as the best case scenario in the situation.
Not having Strasburg available in the playoffs was a big loss for the Nationals, but after signing him to a long term deal, it was smart to put his long term health over winning one or two playoff series.
SP, Washington Nationals B+
Once again Stephen Strasburg had to battle injuries throughout the year, but when he was healthy, he pitched at an All-Star level. Up until August, Strasburg was seen as the frontrunner for winning the NL Cy Young award, and if you take away his one awful start in Colorado, his numbers look much better for the season. When he was healthy, Strasburg was as good as they get this season, but the big question of his health will remain a concern for the Nationals going forward.