Chipper Jones on Braves rookie: “Never had that flat-out flamethrower”

Braves Spencer Strider revenge

Over his career as a player and coach, Chipper Jones has seen a lot of Braves pitchers, but he has never seen someone like Spencer Strider toe the rubber with a tomahawk across his chest.

“We have never had that flat-out flamethrower and Spencer Strider is that guy,” Jones said. “He is fun to watch. It is really cool to see all the fake mustaches in the stands whenever he pitches. He is a kind of cult hero in Atlanta.”

The fourth-round draft pick out of Clemson is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award due to his blazing fastball and wipeout slider being nearly unhittable.

To begin the year, Strider dominated out of the bullpen. He boasted a 2.22 ERA and ridiculous 1.45 FIP. Over that same stretch, Strider only allowed batters to hit for a .167 average, striking out 37 of them. Then, he switched roles, but it’s been more of the same from the hard-throwing righty. In 16 starts, Strider owns a 3.06 ERA over 82.1 innings pitched, and his 2.23 FIP suggests that number should be even lower. He’s a primary reason why the Braves are one of the favorites to win the World Series.

“I have plenty of experience playing in October,” Jones said. “A guy who can strike people out and limit contact in the postseason, those guys are dominant as you saw with a guy like John Smoltz. He was more successful than even the other two (Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux) because he had so much swing and miss in his game. Spencer Strider has that.”

The Braves will need Strider down the stretch as the club attempts to crown themselves NL East champions for the fifth-straight year. Atlanta is currently 3.0 games back of the division-leading Mets, but Jones knows everything is right in front of them.

“If you’d have told me at the beginning of the season that we would be on the cusp of being 30 games over .500 at the end of August and we weren’t in first place in our division I would have had a hard time believing it,” Jones said. “The New York Mets are a really, really good ball club. It will be hard to chase them down. We are doing as best we can.”

John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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