The future looks very bright for the Washington Nationals with the way they have constructed their team over the past few years. With consecutive number one overall picks in the MLB draft in 2009 and 2010, the Nats took Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper respectively.
Washington D.C was buzzing with excitement after their hometown franchise selected the two potential superstars and rightfully so. Strasburg is slated to be the franchise ace for years to come, while Harper–originally a catcher converted to outfielder to prolong his career–is a five-tool guy.
While the future is bright, it has been clouded with injuries to their two young studs, with each spending the start of June on the disabled list.
Strasburg was placed on the DL on June 1 after an MRI that revealed a slight lat strain. He’s scheduled to make his next start on June 16 when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. This isn’t the first time the young pitcher has dealt with injuries. In 2011 he had season-ending Tommy John surgery. After coming back in 2012, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo brought him along cautiously and kept him on a leash by giving him an inning-limit.
The Nationals were in the thick of things all season last year, finishing with a franchise-record 98 wins and winning their first National League East crown since moving back to D.C. in 2005. Strasburg was shut down late in the season and did not appear in the postseason for Washington. While this was a smart move by Rizzo, many questioned him throughout the entire season.
Then you have Bryce Harper. He was placed in the 15-day DL after discovering he had bursitis in his right knee. The injury stems from a game on May 13 against the Dodgers where the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year ran into the right field wall chasing after a fly ball. He opted to play through injury, which only did more damage.
He is eligible to come back June 11, but will likely have his stay on the DL extended. He recently went to see Dr. James Andrews, the high-profiled surgeon who has operated on some of the biggest names in sports. Whenever a player goes to see Andrews, fans collectively hold their breath, but Rizzo insists that it was protocol for Harper to get his knee examined.
The duo of Strasburg and Harper present the Nationals with a very bright future, but if they cannot stay healthy, that future could be in jeopardy. The Nationals need these two cornerstones of their franchise to stay injury-free and lead them to the promise land. For the sake of these two players and their fans, here’s to hoping they can do just that.