Spencer Strider has been dealing with an oblique injury, but he’s on the NLDS roster. We know he will pitch at some point, but the Braves haven’t announced how they will use him. He could start Game 3 or 4; I wouldn’t even be surprised if he was used in a relief role. Strider’s had success as both a starter and reliever this season, and while it would be ideal if he could go 6-7 innings, it may not be realistic given that he hasn’t pitched in a month.
Strider’s health could ultimately determine how far the Braves make it this postseason. With all due respect to Max Fried and Kyle Wright, who have been fantastic this year, there’s not a better pitcher on the team than Strider, who has been nothing short of dominant since the Braves moved him to the rotation.
What’s wild is Strider has had so much success as a rookie with just two pitches. He’s flashed a decent changeup at times, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and his fastball/slider combination is the furthest thing away from broke.
Strider’s fastball sits right around 100 miles per hour. That alone can give batters fits, but his slider might be even deadlier, which features a whiff rate of over 50% — making it the second most unhittable pitch in all of baseball.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 13, 2022
Spencer Strider has thrown his slider 643 times and given up just 19 hits. Opponents are hitting just .139 off the offering with one homer and 74 strikeouts.
It might be a bit of an overreaction, given Strider has only played one full season, but I’ve never been afraid to be bold. I said after watching him earlier this season, he reminds me a lot of Jacob deGrom. They both command the zone with 100 MPH fastballs and then primarily work sliders off of it. deGrom’s slider is a little faster, but as you can see, Strider’s is equally as effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if multiple NL Cy Young awards are in his future, and luckily, the Braves now have him locked up through the 2029 season.