Strasburg, I mean. The rest of the staff may or may not meet expectations but Strasburg... he's as good as advertised, right? Even he thinks he's this good. The Astros got some good cuts on him with runners on and his thought process isn't "Oh I'm getting tight.", it's "Oh I must be tipping my pitches.".
Where does Strasburg's first 20 starts rank (roughly) all-time? Pretty high. There are 273 guys that started their first 20 appearances* in recent times (at least since 1948 maybe a few before that). Here's where Strasburg's stats rank
ERA : 2.35 (5th)
K/9 : 10.9 (4th)
BB/9 : 1.9 (7th)
HR/9 : 0.4 (18th)
H/9 : 6.8 (12th)
Pretty impressive . Not every great pitcher is included on this list, not even close, but a lot of very good starters are. Seaver, Marichal, Mussina, Gooden, Glavine, Smoltz. Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Sabathia, Weaver, King Felix, Hamels, Lincecum, Verlander, Kershaw. Really this is a decent way to compare among contemporaries, not so much for even 20 years ago.
The most impressive stat to me though was K/BB. Usually, young guys will have no problem striking out batters, but have a problem with control. Not only was Strasburg 1st, he was first by a huge margin. Strasburg sits at 5.625. 2nd was Andy Sonnanstine (he got hit and gave up homers - if you are wondering) at an even 4.00. Then Prior at 3.85 and Greinke at 3.76. The difference between 1st and 2nd, between Strasburg and the best out of these other 272 guys, is the same as the difference between the 2nd best guy and the 38th.
What about the career leaders in this stat that didn't make this list of 273? Clemens was the best of the ones you'd probably look at, around 4.3, but he'd regress for a few seasons and 4.3 is still a good deal behind Strasburg. Pedro? Just over 3 in his first 20 starts. Randy Johnson? Maybe 2.5 area but wouldn't break 2.00 again until he was 29. Schilling? Under 2.50. Koufax? Not much past 2 if at all. Maddux, Halladay? Don't break 1.5, by my back of the envelope calculations.
The fact is the CAREER mark is 5.03 by a guy named Tommy Bond, who threw his last pitch in 1884. After him it's Schilling with a 4.38 mark, then Pedro, Dan Haren (who's suceptibility to giving up hits and the occasional long ball keep him from being elite) and Mariano Rivera are the only other ones over 4.00.
What does this all mean? It means we have never seen a combination of stuff and control at the beginning of a career as we are seeing from Strasburg. It's quite possible, since these things tend to improve a bit over time, that we've never seen this combination of stuff and control ever, though I have a tough time wrapping my head around how it could get better. Averaging 8 Ks and 0.5 BB a game? It's crazy how good Strasburg is, and it's mind-blowing how good he could be.
*I couldn't get first 20 starts, only first 20 games. And I didn't want to include relief appearances since thy can skew things like K/9... I'll let you figure out if I'm failing baseball-reference or if baseball-reference is failing me.)