If we learned anything from Jordan Zimmermann‘s 2011 season, it was how the Nationals elect to ease their pitchers back from Tommy John surgery. Zimmermann pitched 161 1/3 innings last season, and we can likely expect the same total from Stephen Strasburg this season. When he does pitch, though, you can be assured of two things: strikeouts and more strikeouts. It will probably take him some time, the majority of the season in fact, to work back to full strength, but I’d be surprised if we don’t see something in the neighborhood of a strikeout an innings from the game’s most exciting pitching prospect. How will his ERA and WHIP fare? I’m confident they’ll be an elite levels, too, but 160 innings of elite numbers can only rank you so high.
Best case scenario: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) on a per-start basis Similar players: Michael Pineda (NYY), Tim Lincecum (SF), Madison Bumgarner (SF) on a per-start basis Worst case scenario: Injuries crop up, innings fall below 160