The Braves’ superstar pitcher Spencer Strider finished the 2022 campaign in disappointing fashion, making it only 2.1 innings while surrendering five earned runs against the Phillies in Game 3 of the NLDS. However, that shouldn’t overshadow the other-worldly performance he had the entire season, which netted him second place in the NL Rookie of the Year race, with his teammate Michael Harris II taking home the award.
Strider broke a bevy of league and franchise records, becoming the fastest pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts, which broke Randy Johnson‘s record. The hard-throwing righty also owns the club record for most strikeouts in nine innings or less. He struck out over a third of the batters he faced in 2022 and became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 200+ batters without giving up 100 hits in a single season.
Strider’s stuff has an argument for being some of the nastiest, most unhittable in baseball, and the Braves recognized it. In total, the Clemson product posted 202 strikeouts and a 2.67 ERA in 131.2 innings, prompting the team to hand Strider a six-year extension worth $75 million guaranteed.
The Braves believe he’s the future of the rotation, and it’s easy to see why. When Strider is touching corners at 100 mph and then following it with a wipeout slider, he looks untouchable, reminiscent of Jacob deGrom. Now, to add to his persona, powered by his mustache, Strider is switching his jersey number to #99.
Was perusing the #Braves 40-man (as one does) and noticed what appears to be a uniform number change for a certain fireballing pitcher. Rick Vaughn would approve of Spencer Strider's choice.
Throw 99. Wear 99. I dig it. pic.twitter.com/CBa7ee8pTv
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) November 16, 2022
He’s actually the first player in the team’s history to don the #99 jersey number, so that’s another record for the young man. Spencer Strider is an absolute gem of a professional athlete. The mustache, blistering fastball, and now the #99 number are a glorious combination. I’m not quite sure how the team plans to handle the #65 jerseys that were sold; the NFL makes players pay for the difference, but that’s to cover their own end. Maybe the MLB does something similar, but fans are probably out of luck. Think of it this way, though, you have the one-year #65 rookie jersey that could potentially be a collectible in the future.
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire