It feels a bit premature to name Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg the best pitcher in the majors right now.
After all, the 24-year old has pitched 136 career innings over three partial seasons with the Nats.
But there's an argument to be made that, despite his limited innings, he's the most shutdown pitcher in the league.
When he made his major league debut in 2010, Strasburg didn't appear to have the rookie jitters that many young pitchers suffer from. He struck out 92 batters and walked just 17 in 68 innings, while serving up a sub-3.00 earned run average.
He missed much of the 2011 season rehabbing from an often career-ending Tommy John surgery, yet bounced back this season as if he never missed a beat.
Through seven starts this year, Strasburg has allowed just nine runs in 44 innings pitched, has notched a 3-0 record, boasts a 1.64 earned run average and opposing batters are hitting just .195 against him.
He ranks in or near the top 10 among all pitchers in innings pitched, strikeouts, earned run average, opposing batting average and walks plus hits per inning (WHIP). Few other pitchers are so consistently excellent across several statistical categories. Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, for instance, leads the league in strikeouts but has a 3.51 ERA.
And thanks to their young ace -- and fellow talented young starters Ross Detwiler, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann -- the Nats find themselves at 19-12, good for the third-best record in the National League.