Spencer Strider
Strider warming up in 2023
Atlanta Braves – No. 99
Pitcher
Born: (1998-10-28) October 28, 1998 (age 25)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
October 1, 2021, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
(through 2023 season)
Win–loss record32–10
Earned run average3.37
Strikeouts483
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Spencer Robert Strider (born October 28, 1998) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball for the Clemson Tigers, and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round of the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2021.

Amateur career

Strider attended the Christian Academy of Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 35th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, but did not sign and played college baseball at Clemson University for the Clemson Tigers.[1] In 2018, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League.[2][3] Strider missed the 2019 season after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, which required Tommy John surgery.[4] He returned from the injury in 2020 and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round of the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft and signed.[5]

Professional career

2021

Strider split his professional debut of 2021 between the Augusta GreenJackets, the Rome Braves, the Mississippi Braves, and the Gwinnett Stripers.[6][7][8] Between the four stops he posted a 3–7 record with a 3.64 ERA and 153 strikeouts over 94 innings.[9][10]

On October 1, 2021, Strider was selected to the Atlanta active roster.[11][12] He made his major league debut that night, pitching one inning of relief against the New York Mets.[13][14] Strider earned his first career win on the final day of the season, again facing the Mets in relief.[15] The Braves finished with an 88–73 record, clinching the NL East, and eventually won the 2021 World Series, giving the Braves their first title since 1995.[16]

2022

Strider began the 2022 season on the Braves' Opening Day roster.[17] He began the season in the bullpen and was moved to the starting rotation from May 30 onwards.[18] Strider was named National League Rookie of the Month for July.[19] On September 1, he broke the Braves' record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game, fanning 16 Colorado Rockies batters in eight shutout innings.[20][21] On September 18, Strider became the fastest pitcher in either the American League or National League to throw 200 strikeouts in a single season, reaching the milestone in 130 innings pitched.[22] He was also the first rookie in the franchise's modern-era history to strike out 200 batters in a single season.[23] The feat had been accomplished by Bill Stemmyer and Kid Nichols in 1886 and 1890, respectively, while the franchise was known as the Boston Beaneaters.[24] Strider made his final appearance of the 2022 regular season on September 18,[25] and was placed on the 15-day injured list due to an oblique injury on September 24.[26][27] On October 10, 2022, the Braves and Strider agreed to a 6-year, $75M extension through the 2029 season.[28][29] For the 2022 regular season, he was 11–5 with a 2.67 ERA in 31 games (20 starts).[30] Strider recovered from his injury for the 2022 postseason and was placed on the National League Division Series roster,[31] being named the starter in Game 3 versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Strider struggled, pitching just 2.1 innings and earning the loss in a 9–1 defeat; the Phillies would eliminate the Braves in four games. At the end of the season, Strider finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year Award balloting to teammate Michael Harris II.[32] This is the first time that two Braves players have finished first and second in Rookie of the Year voting since Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman in 2011.

2023

Strider became the fastest pitcher in MLB history to attain 100 strikeouts in a season, achieving the feat in 61.0 innings. The record was previously held by Jacob deGrom.[33] At the midseason, Strider was selected as a reserve starting pitcher for the National League in the 2023 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, his first career All-Star selection.[34]

On August 1, Strider broke his own previously set record for the fastest to attain 200 strikeouts in a season, doing so in 123.1 innings pitched.[35] On September 30, 2023, Strider won his twentieth game of the season and broke John Smoltz's Atlanta Braves record for strikeouts in a season, finishing the year with 281.[36] In 32 starts of 2023, Strider finished with a 20–5 record, 286 strikeouts, and a 3.86 ERA.[37]

Pitching style

During the 2018 college baseball season, Strider's repertoire included a two-seam fastball, a slurve-like pitch, and a changeup he did not use often. After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Strider began throwing a four-seam fastball, and became more willing to pitch in the upper region of the strike zone.[38]

As of the 2023 season, Strider makes use of two main pitches: a four-seam fastball sitting 97–98 mph, which he throws 60 percent of the time; and a slider sitting 85–86 mph, which he throws 35 percent of the time.[39] Additionally, Strider throws a changeup sitting 87–88 mph around 5 percent of the time, usually against left-handed hitters.[39]

Strider began throwing a curveball before the 2024 regular season.[40][41]

Personal life

Strider has followed a vegan diet since 2019, crediting it in part for helping with his high blood pressure.[42] Before tournaments, Strider's high school teammates grew facial hair and dyed their hair blond as a bonding exercise. He maintained a mustache during his collegiate baseball career at Clemson, where he became known as "The Mustache Man."[43] In high school, Strider wore uniform number 28. Because that number was assigned to Clemson teammate Seth Beer, Strider wore 29 while playing for the Tigers. As the Braves had retired 29 for pitcher John Smoltz, and 28 was assigned to Matt Olson, Strider wore 65 during his rookie season, then subsequently chose 99 to commemorate Rick Vaughn, a character in the 1989 film Major League.[44][45]

Strider publicly supports left-wing politics and has praised former Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[46]

Before the 2023 season began, Strider married Maggie, whom he had first met in high school.[47]

References

  1. ^ Strange, Mike (June 14, 2017). "CAK's Spencer Strider picked by Indians in 35th round". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  2. ^ "Cape Cod Baseball League standings, linescores, states". Cape Cod Times. June 22, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  3. ^ Kraus, Bobby (July 5, 2018). "Commodores finding their stride at mid-season point". Fallmouth Bulletin. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  4. ^ Connolly, Matt (February 1, 2019). "One of Clemson's top pitchers is out for the year. How that changes the rotation". The State. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  5. ^ Torres, Aaron (June 11, 2020). "CAK graduate Spencer Strider drafted by Atlanta Braves in fourth round of 2020 MLB Draft". Knoxville News Sentinel.
  6. ^ Aguilera, Nick (May 19, 2021). "Strider fans 10 in second career start". MLB.com. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  7. ^ "Former Clemson standout earns promotion". The Clemson Insider. June 22, 2021. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  8. ^ Harris, Chris (July 6, 2021). "Strider strikes out 11 in first professional win; M-Braves regain a share of first place with Wahoos". MILB.com. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  9. ^ Irle, Chase (2021-09-29). "Braves: Spencer Strider hits 100 MPH in his Gwinnett Stripers debut". SportsTalkATL.com. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  10. ^ Gaskins, Cam (2021-10-01). "Braves call up former Clemson pitcher Spencer Strider to MLB roster". ABC Columbia. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  11. ^ Burns, Gabriel (October 1, 2021). "Braves promote pitching prospect Spencer Strider to majors". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  12. ^ Bowman, Mark (October 1, 2021). "Strider, Lee called up for playoff auditions". MLB.com. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Venkataraman, Karthik (October 1, 2021). "Knoxville native Spencer Strider makes MLB debut for Atlanta Braves". WBIR-TV. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  14. ^ Priester, JP (October 2, 2021). "Former Clemson Hurler Spencer Strider Makes MLB Debut With Atlanta Braves". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "Riley drives in 2, Braves beat Mets 5-0, head to playoffs". ESPN.com. Associated Press. October 3, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  16. ^ "Atlanta Braves win 2021 World Series". MLB. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  17. ^ Bowman, Mark (April 7, 2022). "Braves set Opening Day roster". MLB.com. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Bowman, Mark (October 6, 2022). "How these two players changed the Braves' season". MLB.com. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  19. ^ "July top rookie honors go to Miranda, Strider". MLB.com. August 2, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  20. ^ Leach, Matthew (September 1, 2022). "Strider makes Braves history with 16 K's ... and he had no idea". MLB.com. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  21. ^ "Atlanta Braves' Spencer Strider strikes out 16 for team record in win". ESPN.com. September 1, 2022. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  22. ^ Bowman, Mark (September 18, 2022). "'Electric' Strider breaks Big Unit's strikeout record". MLB.com. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  23. ^ "Strider dominant, Contreras homers, Braves sweep Phillies". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 18, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  24. ^ Toscano, Justin (September 18, 2022). "Braves starter Spencer Strider reaches 200-strikeout mark in Sunday's win". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  25. ^ "Atlanta Braves RHP Spencer Strider on 15-day IL for strained oblique". ESPN.com. September 24, 2022. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  26. ^ Axisa, Mike (September 24, 2022). "Spencer Strider injury: Braves rookie lands on IL with oblique issue, out until playoffs". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  27. ^ Bowman, Mark (September 24, 2022). "Strider (oblique) hopes to return for postseason". MLB.com. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
  28. ^ Bowman, Mark (October 10, 2022). "Strider finds security in 6-year deal, now hoping to pitch in NLDS". MLB.com. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  29. ^ "Atlanta Braves lock up Spencer Strider with 6-year, $75M deal". ESPN.com. Associated Press. October 10, 2022. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  30. ^ "2022 Atlanta Braves Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  31. ^ Bowman, Mark (October 11, 2022). "Strider on, Matzek off Braves' NLDS roster". MLB.com. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  32. ^ Bowman, Mark; Ladson, Bill (November 14, 2022). "Harris wins NL ROY Award as Braves go 1-2 in balloting". MLB.com. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  33. ^ Rasmussen, Karl (May 29, 2023). "Braves' Spencer Strider Sets MLB Record in Win Over Phillies". Sport Illustrated. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  34. ^ Toscano, Justin. "Great Eight: Braves set franchise record with eight All-Stars". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  35. ^ "Strider breaks his own record, fastest to 200 K's again". MLB.com.
  36. ^ Bowman, Mark (September 30, 2023). "Strider (277 K's), Acuña (73 SBs) set Braves' modern era records". MLB.com.
  37. ^ "Ozuna hits go-ahead, 3-run homer, Strider gets 20th win as Braves beat Nationals 5-3". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 30, 2023. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  38. ^ Bowman, Mark (March 28, 2022). "How Strider went from TJ surgery in '19 to Braves' bullpen in '21". MLB.com. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  39. ^ a b "Spencer Strider Statcast, Visuals & Advanced Metrics | MLB.com". baseballsavant.com. Retrieved 2023-04-25.
  40. ^ Bowman, Mark (February 19, 2024). "Strider toys with new pitch shapes in first spring BP session". Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  41. ^ Bowman, Mark (February 24, 2024). "Strider starts strong, shows off new pitch in scoreless spring debut". MLB.com. Retrieved February 24, 2024.
  42. ^ O'Brien, David. "Hard-throwing Braves rookie Spencer Strider is a strict vegan". The Athletic. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  43. ^ Schultz, Jeff (June 15, 2022). "Schultz: Braves have their 'Huckleberry' in Spencer Strider and his mustache". The Athletic. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  44. ^ Bowman, Mark (January 21, 2023). "Wild Thing! Strider switches to No. 99". MLB.com. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  45. ^ Toscano, Justin (January 22, 2023). "Braves hope motivation from last year's exit leads to different outcome". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  46. ^ McCullough, Andy. "The Problem Solver: How Spencer Strider became 2022's premier strikeout artist". The Athletic. Retrieved 2023-11-05.
  47. ^ Mintz, Jake (March 7, 2023). "MEET SPENCER STRIDER: THE MUSTACHIOED, TOFU-LOVING CY YOUNG CONTENDER". Retrieved March 7, 2023.