The Braves have one of the most formidable duos on its pitching staff in Spencer Strider and Max Fried, who are both looking the part of an ace early in Spring Training.
Coming into yesterday, Fried had pitched 5.0 innings, recording nine strikeouts while allowing only three hits, good for a 0.00 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. And he added to that impressive stat line yesterday against the Puerto Rican national team, tossing four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts.
Strider also pitched yesterday against the Blue Jays. He went 3.1 innings and also struck out five, but he did give up his first run of the Spring. However, this video of Strider’s changeup should have Braves fans salivating.
If Strider can add that changeup to his already filthy fastball/slider combination, he’ll be nearly unhittable. His stat line so far this spring reads 8.1 innings while allowing one earned run (1.08 ERA). He’s fanned nine, surrendered six hits and walked two, good for a 0.96 WHIP.
As always, Spring Training results do not matter, but it’s encouraging to see your stars perform like ones. Fried and Strider are the aces of this staff and have the ability to make some noise in the NL Cy Young race.
Fried established himself as arguably the best lefty on the planet, coming off a second-place finish in the NL Cy Young race, finishing the 2022 campaign with a career-best 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, and 5.9 WAR.
Shockingly, what Strider did as a rookie was somehow more impressive. He struck out over 35% of the batters he faced, becoming the fastest pitcher ever to 200 strikeouts, breaking Randy Johnson‘s record. He also became the first pitcher in history to strike out 200 batters without allowing 100 hits in a season. Strider ended the season with an eye-popping 2.67 ERA; however, his 1.81 FIP suggests he was unlucky.
The Braves have one of the deepest rotations in baseball, which has been well-documented, but the top-end talent on the staff can go toe to toe with any in baseball. And they’ll have to be up to the challenge because the competition in the division alone is fierce — Justin Verlander/Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola/Zack Wheeler.
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire
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