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The Rooks Today

June 13, 2010 - Al Stephenson

Progressive Field is the site of the action today as a rookie phenom will take the hill for his first road game.  The Washington Nationals are in town for interleague play and their number one draft pick from a year ago, Stephen Strasburg, will toe the rubber.

After several dominating starts in the minor leagues (exactly why he needed that no one knows) Strasburg made his major league debut last Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  With a fastball approaching 100 mph, a curve that goes 12-6 and a changeup that baffles hitters, he was awesome.  Striking out 14 hitters in seven innings without walking a batter, he lived up to his hype.

Now Indian fans can get a good look at him and decide for themselves if he is bonafide Hall of Fame material or not.  I'd say that if the first outing is any indication, he is definitely on track.  Of course he will have to stay healthy (remember Kerry Wood struck out 20 in his debut, but arm troubles have short circuited his career) and do his thing against teams stronger than the Pirates.  You can decide if the Indians are providing a stronger opponent.

The Indians themselves have a rookie that has captured some attention.  Catcher Carlos Santana was called up Friday and last night he got his first hit and RBI in his first at bat of the game.  He followed that with his first home run.  His hitting has never been questioned.  His defensive efforts need polishing according to Indian brass.  I thought he looked pretty good behind the plate.  His potential is, well, Strasburg-like.

Here's hoping that Santana is in the lineup today.  Between the two rookies we have a chance to see the future of the game on display.

The view from my seat (in front of the tube with remote in hand - hey there is a Nascar race today at the same time) suggests that this could be a great game to watch. 

One more thing.  Does anyone else think that standing in the batter's box, Santana looks an awful lot like Victor Martinez?


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