On April 9th, 2003, Javier Vazquez, with the Montreal Expos at the time, struck out 14 batters in only 96 pitches. He became the first player ever to strike out 14 batters in fewer than 100 pitches; only Greg Maddux, Tom Seaver, and Grant Jackson had ever struck out at least 13 with so few pitches.
On June 8th, 2010, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals struck out 14 batters in only 94 pitches. That’s the highest number of strikeouts ever recorded with so few pitches. It came in his first career start, besting the greatest marks players like Seaver (105.3 rWAR) and Maddux (98.8 rWAR) ever posted.
Strasburg also became the first player to record at least 14 strikeouts and no walks in his debut. Not only did Strasburg not issue any walks, he only reached three total 3-ball counts.
Stephen Strasburg’s first start was remarkable for a multitude of reasons. The sheer spectacle, the stuff, the velocity, and the strikeouts. Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch, as Strasburg’s career develops, will be his efficiency. His first start already ranks among the most efficient games ever. We already knew he had the stuff and the velocity. If he can combine that natural talent with the kind of efficiency he showcased on Tuesday, watch out MLB.
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