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Strasburg ranks No. 2 on prospect list

Strasburg ranks No. 2 on prospect list

The MLB Network announced the Top 50 Prospects in baseball on Wednesday, and Nationals right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen ranked second and 40th, respectively.

The first overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Strasburg has a devastating slider, and his fastball is clocked in the 100-mph range. He was the only college player to play on the U.S. Olympic baseball team in Beijing two years ago, going 1-1 with a 0.64 ERA and winning a bronze medal.

Strasburg made his presence felt in the Arizona Fall League late last year, striking out 23 batters in 19 innings for the Phoenix Desert Dogs before hurting his left knee.

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Strasburg is expected to be 100 percent healthy by Spring Training, where he could compete for a spot in the rotation.

"The sky is the limit, if he is fortunate enough to stay healthy. He is going be to fun to watch," said Doug Harris, the Nationals' director of player development. "Every superlative has been written and said. This young man is blessed physically. He is a wonderful human being."

In his first year in professional baseball, Storen dominated hitters, going a combined 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 11 saves in 28 games for Class A Hagerstown, Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. More impressive is that he walked only eight batters in 37 innings.

There's already talk of Storen making the team out of Spring Training as a middle reliever.

"He is another gifted young man," Harris said. "He has an exceptionally quick arm. He is ultra-aggressive. He will show you three plus pitches with a developing fourth pitch. He has to learn how to pitch in the pro game.

"He is a college reliever who came out dominating with stuff in his first short season. He is learning how to pitch. He is learning to go through lineups. He is learning how to pitch with his fastball -- some of the things you don't necessarily learn in college."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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