Despite the losses of Max Fried and Kyle Wright, two guys that finished inside the top ten of the NL Cy Young race a year ago, the Braves rotation has been the best in the National League in almost every metric. It’s a testament to the depth of this group, and a tip of the cap has to also be given to the guys that have stepped up.
Charlie Morton is having a nice bounce back campaign after a shoddy 2022, but the real heroes have been Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder, both of whom appeared on the list of MLB’s top 10 pitcher power rankings.
- Shane McClanahan
- Spencer Strider
- Sonny Gray
- Nathan Eovaldi
- Framber Valdez
- Luis Castillo
- Bryce Elder
- Marcus Stroman
- Joe Ryan
- Zac Gallen/Shohei Ohtani
Spencer Strider has come as advertised following a dominant rookie campaign. The Braves ace owns a 2.97 ERA and 2.36 FIP to go along with an absurd 41.6% strikeout. He’s striking out nearly 15 batters per nine innings and is leading the majors in the category by a wide margin. However, it’s not ridiculous to say Bryce Elder has been even better.
It’s almost comical to think Elder began the year in AAA and was forced up because of injury, but perhaps that gave the 24-year-old former Texas Longhorn a little extra motivation heading into the season because nobody has been better at run prevention through the first two months of the season. There’s nothing sexy about the way he pitches, but he has a plan with every batter that comes to the plate and executes it, especially in the biggest moments.
For a while, many people pointed out that Elder’s success had come against mostly terrible offenses. It was a fair point, but it no longer applies. In his last eight starts, Elder has faced the Astros, Dodgers, Mariners, Orioles, and Blue Jays. In those five outings, he’s surrendered a grand total of six earned runs. Does it make a whole lot of sense, given his advanced metrics? Not really, but it doesn’t matter as long as Elder keeps getting guys out.
Photo: Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire