We’re still early on, but Spencer Strider is starting to blow me away, and I imagine most Braves fans feel the same way. There were times in Spring Training when he looked to lose his control, like he was trying to be too perfect. But a few weeks ago, I think he realized just how unbelievable his fastball/slider combination really is, began trusting his stuff more, and now looks nearly unhittable.
Since April 30th, Strider has appeared in five games, going 11.2 innings and allowing just two earned runs — good for a 1.54 ERA. That’s excellent, but his -0.25 FIP suggests he’s actually been unlucky over that stretch. He’s struck out 21 batters in those 11.2 innings, giving him a ridiculous 40% strikeout rate on the season, which ranks first among 158 qualified pitchers.
Spencer Strider's 40 percent strikeout rate 𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙠𝙨 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 out of the 158 MLB pitchers with 20+ innings pitched this season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GZ65dRNDmw
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 19, 2022
The Braves have a budding superstar on their hands, and I don’t see an end in sight. At the very least, Strider can be a dominant bullpen arm for years to come, but eventually, the Braves are going to give him a shot in the rotation, and he has the potential to be one of the best arms in the majors.
I know Strider doesn’t currently have a third offering to rely on, but sometimes, two pitches is enough when you have as effective of a fastball and slider as he does. I’ve never seen hitters as lost at the plate as I have when they face Strider, outside of Jacob DeGrom. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him; he’s yet another arm the Braves have done a tremendous job developing.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire