Mock draft update: The Strasburg factor

Stephen Strasburg’s season-ending Tommy John surgery will force him to miss all of the 2011 season, and based on past history of pitchers who’ve come back from that type of surgery, he might not be a 200-inning stud until the 2015 regular season, and the 2016 Strat season.

So for our 2011 draft, Strasburg becomes the ultimate wild-card. He’ll have a worthy card for a righty starter, having struck out 92 in 68 innings. He’ll be great against righties (0.93 WHIP, .207 BAA) but human against lefties (1.27, .241). Whoever takes him will have to be extraordinarily patient, keeping him on the roster for several years until he reaches his promise, which could be the 2013 Strat season at the soonest.

That person could be someone whose roster is already in great shape for 2011… or someone who thinks they’re still more than a year away from contending and are looking to build for the future. Or even someone looking for a stud starter for the last 2-3 months of the year.

For those reasons — plus the fact that nearly everyone on our Dynamic Dozen list had a deflating August, weakening the draft pool — we think Strasburg will still go in the first round. Just not No.1. Our new No. 1 is:

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North shuffles and tightens; Detroit hurdles SGP in South

One month ago as we analyzed the August schedule, we warned:

Will Springfield come back to the pack in August? Possibly: The Isotopes face a schedule showing three 50-win opponents, plus Bismarck, coming off a 13-7  month.

That proved to be prophetic as the then-first-place Isotopes had their worst month of the season, going 7-13 one month after going 14-6, and falling out of first place.

Your new South Division leader: The Hickory Nuts, one of three teams in the league to post 12-8 marks in August as the league’s top record.

Springfield is just one game off the pace though, and Tropical two back, in a terrific three-way race. Bosh-wood — er, Bushwood — is six games back and not throwing in the towel, especially now with Stephen Strasburg less attractive as the No. 1 overall pick.

Over in the South Division, Savannah and Wisconsin were the other two teams to go 12-8, and thus the Scorpions maintained their hair-thin one-game lead. But making a move into playoff position were the Detroit Demolition Dogs, who finally have overtaken the South Grand Prairie Warriors for third place, but by the margin of just one game.

The September schedule affords Tropical a chance to makes its move, with only Wisconsin (at home) on the docket as a foe with a winning record.

Detroit’s position as a playoff team could be short-lived, alas, as the Demo Dogs face a murderous September schedule of Tropical, Springfield, Hickory and Savannah — all with 65 wins or more.