Braves: Spencer Strider With Chance to Make Strikeout History

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 01: A view of the 16 K's at The Home Depot Clubhouse after the 16th strikeout by Spencer Strider #65 of the Atlanta Braves to end the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Truist Park on September 01, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 01: A view of the 16 K's at The Home Depot Clubhouse after the 16th strikeout by Spencer Strider #65 of the Atlanta Braves to end the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Truist Park on September 01, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves have gotten some huge performances from several rookies this year, but maybe none more historical than what Spencer Strider is doing. 

Coming into the season we didn’t really know if the Atlanta Braves would get any significant contributions from any of their rookies.

Spencer Strider seemed the most likely as he made a brief debut in 2021. But still, we weren’t sure what his role would be in 2022 — whether as a starter or reliever.

And many, like myself, thought if he was going to be a starter he’d need more time in the minors to get stretched out and work on a few things.

But the Braves played it perfectly starting him in the bullpen where he was extremely dominant and then transitioning him into the starter role as they were having trouble finding someone to lock down the fifth spot.

He’s no longer just a fifth starter, he’s quite possibly the co-ace of the staff along with Max Fried.

On the season he has a 2.69 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 120.2 innings with 183 strikeouts.

As a starter, he has a 2.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 96.1 innings with 30 walks and 146 strikeouts.

Among pitchers with at least 120 innings, he ranks 7th in WAR at 4.5, according to FanGraphs. And he’s first in FIP at 1.82 — second-best is Kevin Gausman at 2.17.

Last year, NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes had one of the most dominant seasons we’ve ever seen with a FIP of 1.63.

Braves Spencer Strider Racking up the Strikeouts

It’s the strikeouts that make what Spencer Strider is doing so amazing.

He’s sixth in all of baseball with 183 strikeouts. Every pitcher in front of him has thrown at least 35 more innings.

Among pitchers with at least 120 innings pitched, Strider is first with a K/9 of 13.65. Second-best is Shohei Ohtani at 11.98.

The best MLB single-season K/9 rate for pitchers who through at least 100 innings is 13.82 by Gerrit Cole in 2019. Second on that list is Chris Sale in 2018 at 13.50, and then it’s Randy Johnson in 2001 at 13.41.

But what could be really neat is that Strider has the chance to become the fastest player to reach 200 strikeouts in a season.

Randy Johnson did it in 130.2 innings in 2001. Gerrit Cole reached the 200 mark in 133.1 innings in 2019, and Chris Sale did that same year in 147.1 innings.

Strider is just 17 strikeouts away from 200, and if he can reach that mark in the next 10 innings pitched he could break Randy’s record.

That’s a tall task, but if he has another game as he had against the Rockies the other week, he can certainly get it done.

He’s strikeout double-digit batters five times this year, and three of those times he didn’t go more than 6 innings.

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Either way, he’s likely to surpass the 200 strikeout mark over his next starts. And when he does, he’ll be right there among some of the elite strikeout pitchers we’ve ever seen.