If there was any doubt about the winner of the National League Rookie of the Year for 2022, Spencer Strider shut them down Thursday night with a dominant, record-breaking outing for the Atlanta Braves against the Colorado Rockies.
Spencer Strider’s record-breaking performance Thursday night for the Atlanta Braves leaves little doubt about the National League Rookie of the Year
Strider shut out the Rockies on two hits over eight innings, while striking out an Atlanta Braves-record 16 batters and walking none in a performance that just about puts the capper on the NL Rookie of the Year contest.
Along the way he bested Hall of Famer John Smoltz’s Atlanta Braves record of 15 strikeouts (two times) in a game by striking out the final two batters he faced and still hitting 98 MPH more than 100 pitches in.
On the season, Strider is 9-4 with a 2.67 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and 174 strikeouts in 114.2 innings and a .179 opponents batting average.
One of Strider’s issues during the rookie campaign has been control, but the 23-year-old mastered that, too throwing 79 strikes in 106 pitches, a 74.5% strike rate.
While Strider is known for his dominant four-seam fastball that averages 98.2 MPH, his slider can be even more dominating.
Strider uses the slider 26.9% of the time and batters are batting .149 on the pitch that comes in 12 MPH slower than the four-seamer and has a whiff% of 52.2.
The fastball gets the attention, especially when it hits triple digits and Strider has dominated with it to a tune of a -17 run value or -1.3 run value per 100 four-seamers. Yet, the devastating slider has been almost as good, with a -1.2 run value per 100 pitches. In short, Strider is more than just a power pitcher.
Strider’s rise has been a meteoric and remarkable one after missing the entire 2019 season at Clemson due to Tommy John surgery. He was drafted by the Braves in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, but didn’t pitch professionally that season due to the pandemic.
Last season, Strider threw 94 innings across four levels of minor league ball before getting the call up to the Braves in September, where he flashed promise in two Major League appearances.
Left off the Braves postseason roster and run to a World Championship in 2021, Strider began 2022 in the bullpen, making 11 appearances before moving into the starting rotation at the end of May.
Seventeen starts later, barring anything unusual, it appears Strider has outperformed and outlasted other National League Rookie of the Year candidates, such as his teammate Michael Harris II (.298/.344/.523, 14 home runs, 46 RBI) and early contender Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki (.258/.332/.420, 10 home runs, 40 RBI), who has cooled as the season stretched into August and September.
With 30 games remaining in the regular season, Strider likely has five or six more starts to impress the voters and, though it’ll be difficult to top what he’s already accomplished, Strider proved Thursday night that his full potential has yet to be tapped.