Maybe you've heard: Washington Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg is pretty good. But is he better than Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt? Baseball video game maker 2K Sports seems to think so. The company just added Strasburg to its "MLB 2K10" game, giving the phenom an 87 overall rating -- unprecedented for a rookie, and 15th highest among pitchers in the game.
Page 2 caught up with 2K producer and ratings guru Matt Underwood for additional explanation:
Strasburg looked great the other night, but seriously, how can he be rated higher than Hamels and Oswalt?
Would you trade Roy Oswalt for Strasburg right now? It's more the fun factor. It's good for baseball to have a superstar come out. In the past, we wouldn't allow a rookie to be rated more than 80 when they came into the game. But his guy is kind of a special case. I didn't have any problem going higher on him. Besides, people want to have a really loaded guy right from the start. What's the point of having him earn it? He's great until proven otherwise.
Did you factor in Strasburg's debut game?
Oh yeah, definitely. That was like, okay, he is what they claim he is. It was the Pirates, sure, but that was still impressive. Before that game, I was leaning toward an 83 overall. I had him a little bit lower on control. The problem with rookie pitchers in the past is that they typically don't have good control. But everyone says he does. And he did the other night.
Can you take us through your entire rating process for Strasburg?
I go off of the Baseball America, online reports, Fangraphs.com. We use Inside Edge, but we won't have reports on him until next year. With rookies it's a lot of guesswork and scouting reports. A lot of Strasburg's high ratings came from the speed and control and movement on his pitchers. He's obviously going to have a high strikeout ratio. I assumed he'd be better at pitching away from contact than from keeping the ball in the ballpark. He's almost like a really good [Texas'] Rich Harden right now.
Have you started working on Bryce Harper's ratings?
[Laughs]. We can't make fake minor leaguers. It's limited to what's in my mind. We don't want to get sued.