In the Pirates last 2 games, we have seen 3 top flight prospects make their big league debut. First, on Monday, Nationals much hyped starter Steven Strasburg made hid debut against the Pirates. He mowed through the lineup, striking out 14 on just 94 pitches. This isn’t a post about Strasburg, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how impressive it was. I didn’t get to catch much of the game live, but recorded it on DVR and watched Strasburg’s innings last night. If you want to know how good is stuff is, just consider that there were more than a few occasions where hitters were bailing out against physics defying curve balls for called strikes. When you can throw triple digits with command and also spin it like that, it becomes very, very hard to get good wood on the ball consistently.
After that game was completed, the Pirates announced 1B Jeff Clement would be optioned to AAA and Jack Taschner had been DFA’d. Those 2 moves made room for SP Brad Lincoln and OF Jose Tabata to make their big league debut’s last night. Given how dominant Strasburg was in his debut, part of me considers last night a huge disappointment. Tabata would bat lead-off and went 2-4 with a SB and a BB. Quite honestly, if he can continue to do that and sprinkle in an occasional extra base hit, I’ll be happy. But, there was nothing about his performance that was overwhelmingly excellent, and trying to judge a hitter on one game is just dumb anyway. A one game assessment of a pitcher makes slightly more sense, just because you can judge how their stuff looks, but its still an awful small sample size, which brings me to Brad Lincoln.
Lincolns final line was rather ugly 6.0 7 5 5 2 3 1. But he was very much let down by his defense, and he showed me some things I liked. His plus curve ball that everyone has talked about when he was drafted and making his way through the minor leagues is very much that. It’s a true out pitch when he locates it. It may have just been adrenaline, but he had more velocity on his fastball than I expected, hitting 93-94 in the early innings. At least 2 of the runs he allowed probably should have been unearned, but the no decision he came out of the game with seems fitting given how well he pitched. I’m gonna give Lincoln a pass for now, given that his first start this year at AAA was a rough one and how thoroughly he dominated the level after that. I’ve gone over this before, but Lincoln is never going to be a true ace like Strasburg, so comparing the two is just plain unfair. But he seems to have the makings to become a solid middle of the rotation pitcher, one that should be in a Pirates uniform for at least the next 6 years.