The Braves are squaring off with the Phillies on Wednesday for a chance to claim their sixth straight division title with Spencer Strider on the mound.
During the early innings of the game, John Smoltz, who has been in the broadcast booth with Brandon Gaudin for the series in Philadelphia, gave Strider one of the highest compliments a player can receive.
“Spencer Strider is so far ahead of any one of us that’s ever pitched in an Atlanta Braves uniform. That’s what’s so exciting about it…”
Spencer Strider has some of the nastiest stuff in baseball — a fastball that tops out around 100 with movement to pair with a wipeout slider. What’s even scarier is how infrequently he throws a nearly unhittable changeup.
Strider is only 24 years old and has set MLB and franchise records for strikeouts, but there have been bumps in the road; that’s natural for pitchers.
Everyone has bad days because of poor luck or just not having their best stuff. The greats figure out how to salvage those bad days and give their club a chance to win. Right now, Strider has an example of that in Max Fried, who consistently turns potentially bad outings into competitive ones.
If Spencer Strider ever wants to realize his full potential, he’ll have to figure out the nuances of the game at a level that typically only comes with experience. I think because he’s experienced loads of success so early in his career and can power a 100 mph past most hitters, his confidence is sometimes his greatest enemy.
Being efficient and taking what batters give you is sometimes better than strikeouts. Thankfully, he’s obsessed with his craft. That work ethic will eventually result in Cy Young awards. After all, he’s just completing his first full season as a major leaguer. The sky is the limit for Strider, as John Smoltz notes.
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