Braves: Is Spencer Strider working on a new pitch?

MLB: SEP 06 Cardinals at Braves

As the second week of Braves Spring Training begins, Spencer Strider toed the rubber for some live batting practice on Monday afternoon, facing two of the best offensive players in baseball, Austin Riley and Matt Olson.

Strider would go on to throw around 30 pitches against the two, and according to David O’Brien of The Athletic, he was working on a new curveball that we could see in 2024.

The last thing the rest of the league wants to see is Spencer Strider adding new pitches to his repertoire.

Through two major league seasons, Strider has been primarily a fastball/slider pitcher, working in a changeup from time to time against left-handed opponents. The results suggest he doesn’t need to change much, as he’s averaged 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings, which would easily be a major-league record amongst starting pitchers if he qualified.

But Strider’s not one that’s ever satisfied. He’s a perfectionist, who knows just how much more devastating he can be to face if he continues to add weapons to his repertoire.

“I think it’s just manipulating the ball a little more, seeing what kind of shape I can get, different shapes I can get,” Spencer Strider said via Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal Constitution when asked about the new offering. “More so just kind of screwing around taking that chance right now in a live BP.”

This is the time of year when pitchers can mess with the things they’ve been working on all offseason. It’s unlikely Spencer Strider will veer too far off the path of what’s gotten him to this point, the current favorite to take home the NL Cy Young award in 2024.

“I’m certainly not trying to take away my usage of those two pitches, necessarily,” said Strider. “But I think just sort of finding anything, even solidify the slider. Like, what is the best shape for it? That’s worth trying to find out.”

Like all of the greats do, Strider is taking every measure possible to get that 1% better. He’s already near the top of the mountain when it comes to the game’s best starting pitchers, but his goal is to be at the top all by himself in 2024.

“As these guys go, they’re gonna change, they’re gonna adapt, adjust, the whole thing, and get more mature in their preparation,” Brian Snitker said of Strider via Justin Toscano of The AJC. “Until they do it, they don’t know how to do it. And he’s one of those guys that is never gonna be satisfied, and he’s always going to continue to strive to make improvements in his game. That’s just what’s gonna make him great.”

Photo: Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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