A Washington Nationals legend has reportedly played his final career game. Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reported Thursday that Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg would be retiring.
BREAKING: Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg will retire. The World Series MVP and former No. 1 pick in the draft, who couldn't overcome complications from thoracic outlet syndrome, is tentatively planning a September announcement. (w @dougherty_jesse)https://t.co/DM33q5F4J5
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) August 24, 2023
Strasburg, who played for the Nationals for his entire career, was selected first overall in the 2009 MLB Draft.
He took just one year to make it to the major leagues, making his MLB debut on June 8, 2010, to incredible hype. Strasburg lived up to the hype and then some, allowing two runs over seven innings and striking out a Nationals-record 14 batters. Strasburg would go on the set the MLB record for most strikeouts in a pitcher’s first three career starts with 32.
Injuries plagued Strasburg almost immediately, as he tore his UCL in his elbow just two months after his big league debut, requiring Tommy John Surgery. He pitched just 24 innings in 2011 as he spent most of the year rehabbing the injury.
When Strasburg returned in 2012, he picked up right where he left off, being named to the 2012 NL All-Star Team, the first of three career appearances. Washington made the playoffs in 2012, but Strasburg did not pitch, as the Nationals chose to set an innings limit on the pitcher as a result of the previous injury and shut him down for the season in mid-September.
2014 saw Strasburg pitch a career-high 215 innings and record an MLB-best 242 strikeouts, the only time in his career he led the league in strikeouts.
Injuries would continue to bother Strasburg, but he pitched a league-high 209 innings in the 2019 season, playing a big role in Washington’s playoff push. Strasburg pitched three innings in Washington’s 2019 Wild Card Game win over the Milwaukee Brewers, recording the win in the game. He appeared twice in the NLDS against the Dodgers, recording the win in game two of the series.
His biggest performance of the 2019 season came in the World Series against the Houston Astros, where Strasburg struck out 14 batters in 14 innings across two starts, recording the win in both en route to Washington winning their first World Series. Strasburg would go on to be named World Series MVP.
Strasburg pitched just 31 more innings in his career from 2020-22, while dealing with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a condition that affects the nerves in the arm. That injury ultimately caused him to retire.
A formal announcement, and presumably a retirement ceremony, will be made in the future. Best of luck to Stephen Strasburg in the next chapter of his life.