The man hyped as the best pitching prospect ever always had the talent to be where he is now.

Born with an arm that could throw 90 mph while sleeping, only Stephen Strasburg’s mental shortcomings as a teenager stopped the phenom from garnering such early praise and notoriety like his soon-to-be teammate Bryce Harper.


High School

At West Hills High School in San Diego, Calif., Strasburg won just one game as a junior. 

He would get visibly frustrated on the mound and chastise teammates for committing errors behind him. 

His senior year was more of the same.

When scouts came to visit his team, Strasburg’s coach would point to pitchers less mature.

“I told scouts not to draft me,” Strasburg told Sports Illustrated. “I wasn’t ready.”

Not heavily recruited by big time Division I programs, only San Diego State pitching coach Rusty Filter convinced his head coach, Tony Gwynn, to take a chance on Strasburg.


College and the Olympics

Lazy and unmotivated, Strasburg arrived on campus 30 pounds overweight. The future No. 1 overall draft pick couldn’t run four 50-yard sprints without vomiting.

His strength and conditioning coach nicknamed him “Slothburg” and advised him to quit the team. But it turned out all Strasburg needed was a little push.

After stepping foot into a gym for the first time in his life, the freshman upped his fastball to 97 mph.

During his sophomore campaign, Strasburg accumulated an 8-3 record with a 1.57 ERA.

Collegiate batters couldn’t keep up with his fastball and looked silly chasing the devastating change of pace on his off-speed pitches. 

His performance earned the pitcher a birth on the U.S. national team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and he was the only college player to be selected.

In Beijing, Strasburg started two games, including a seven inning, one-hit effort against the Netherlands.

Team USA Manager Davey Johnson felt so confident in the young star that he started Strasburg in the semifinals against powerhouse Cuba. 

Unfortunately for the youngster Cuba pulled for a 10-2 win despite Strasburg’s solid four inning, two earned run performance.

Strasburg left the Olympics with a bronze medal and a 2.45 ERA.

Back for his junior season, Strasburg was a pre-season All-American. He did not disappoint.

In 2009, Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA while striking out 195 batters.

In his final home start of the season, the junior threw a no-hitter against Air Force, retiring 17 batters on strikes.


Minor Leagues

With super agent Scott Boras by his side, Strasburg went No. 1 overall to the Washington Nationas and signed a record-breaking four-year, $15.1 million dollar contract.

During his stint in the minor leagues, the superstar went 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA, including six innings of no-hit ball in a Triple A affiliate appearance. 

After just 11 starts in the minors, Strasburg’s story now turns to the main stage. He will have the weight of the world on his 21-year-old shoulders as he makes his debut tonight.

Just remember, no one is more confident in his stuff than he is.


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