Phenom Watch – Stephen Strasburg

Posted by on Nov 18th, 2009 and filed under Sports . You can follow any responses to this entry through the . You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

With temperatures hovering near zero across the state, local sports fans flocking to the nearest hockey arena, or camping in front of the television to watch football, there probably aren’t too many Alaskan sports minds thinking about baseball.

But here’s your opportunity.

Saturday morning at 10:30, you can log into the Major League Baseball website and catch the Arizona Fall League Championship Game between the Peoria Javelinas and the Phoenix Desert Dogs.

This may not seem like a very compelling game – after all, the teams are comprised of minor league players, not big-leaguers. However, most are considered to be the best of the young prospects. But the starting pitcher for the Desert Dogs may someday be one of the more famous and dominant pitchers in baseball.

His name is Stephen Strasburg .

Strasburg was the first pick in this year’s Major League draft, and signed the largest-ever contract for a draft choice ($15 million). As a player with San Diego State and the U.S. Olympic Team, Strasburg quickly rose to become one of the most coveted amateur players coming into the 2009 draft. He was drafted by the Washington Nationals in June, and signed the contract just minutes before the signing deadline in August.

The Nationals sent him to their instructional facility in Florida to get into game shape, and then he headed to Phoenix for Arizona Fall League , which is an instructional league for the premier minor league talents. In his five games in Phoenix, Strasburg was mostly spectacular, winning four of five starts, and flashing a 100 mile-per-hour fastball that baffled most hitters.

His team, the Phoenix Desert Dogs, have clinched their division title, and will play for the Arizona Fall League Championship on Saturday morning – and the starting pitcher will be Stephen Strasburg.

I traveled to Phoenix to watch Strasburg in early November, and he’s everything that people say about him – he’s overpowering as a pitcher, but he also has devastating breaking pitches. He’s head and shoulders above most of the players, and watching him is a real treat.

Stephen Strasburg pitches against the Surprise Rafters on November 2.

So if random College Football doesn’t float your boat this Saturday, go to MLB.com and check out the game. You can be the first on your block to see the Next Big Thing in baseball.

Wigi Tozzi is the owner of Alaska Vacation Store , specializing in custom Alaska vacation packages , including custom Alaska winter packages , and .

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