The hype regarding Stephen Strasburg continues to buzz after a solid, yet unspectacular debut in spring training yesterday. Strasburg threw two innings while fanning two and inducing four routine ground balls. Bryan Smith posted an article today on Fangraphs where he made a relatively conservative projection of a 3.95 FIP for Strasburg this season. Smith’s approach is, admittedly, not scientific but he does reference work done by Jeff Sackmann on this very site regarding college pitcher development. It is quite a challenge to project a player who has never performed at the major league level never mind having zero minor league experience. I think this is a good start to predicting his performance this season and serves as a type of ceiling for his projections for 2010.
Out of curiosity I took at look at Strasburg’s THT Forecasts and MLEs. For 2010 he is projected for 120 innings, very close to the 150 Bryan Smith had him at. He is also projected for a remarkable 2.28 FIP this year and well over one strikeout per inning. I also encourage you to check out his major league equivalencies from college which are simply mind boggling. This projection appears to be more aggressive in predicting his performance this season simply based of his college numbers without any minor league statistics to reference.
Personally, I would project somewhere in the middle of these two. A FIP of 3.10 would seem plausible. Mark Prior, who I believe is the closest thing we have seen to Strasburg in recent years, posted a 3.16 FIP in his first big league action which encompassed 116.2 innings back in 2002. Prior also struck out over 11 batters per nine innings during his debut something I believe Strasburg should be able to match.