I just read a very detailed analysis of Stephen’s problems this year (by Dan Rozenson in Baseball Prospectus).. It boils down to the fact the he has not been able to throw his off-speed pitches (curve and change-up) where he wants them. Up until this year he has been able to do that, and that keeps hitters guessing and off-balance. This year when he needs a strike he has been going to his fastball a lot more because he has to. That is like giving candy to your 6 year old:). All major League hitters can hit a fastball or they would not be in the major leagues.
The ability to locate pitches is essential to be successful as a pitcher. And to do that consistently requires a tough mental makeup—call it “grit” or “determination”. If you are not sure what that looks like, watch Max Scherzer pitch for 2 minutes:)
Those of you who have read a lot of my blog-posts know I have never been optimistic about Strassburg’s chances of having a successful career. I now think he has already peaked and is on the downhill side of a short career in the major leagues. This is a very tough pill to swallow for the Nats braintrust I’m sure.