Braves ace Spencer Strider confirms he is adding a new pitch to his repertoire

As if standing in the batters box against Spencer Strider wasn't scary enough, the Braves ace is adding another tool to annihilate hitters.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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Spring Training baseball kicked off for the Atlanta Braves yesterday afternoon, and throughout the game we saw much of what we witnessed in 2023. The Atlanta offense hitting for power, and Spencer Strider striking guys out. Michael Harris II may have hit the first pitch of the game out of the park, and high-end prospect Nacho Alvarez had a multi-hit day, but they weren't the biggest talking point after the Braves first Spring Training game. Instead the talk was of their mustached ace's new weapon.

After the game, Justin Toscano of the AJC confirmed in a conversation with Spencer Strider, that the highly-discussed new curveball will be a new part of his pitch mix for 2024. I can't imagine hitters are thrilled to hear this.

We heard rumblings of Strider toying with different pitch shapes on his breaking ball in some of the live ABs against teammates in the days leading up to this. After several Braves beat reporters floated the idea of a curveball being picked up by Strider, the public was pretty skeptical it would make it's way to game action.

However, during his two inning debut outing against the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon, Strider did break out the curveball in game action a few times, and said he was pleased with the results. Spencer emphasized that his fastball is going to remain his biggest weapon (it touched 99 mph in his outing today), but finished that statement with some insight on his new pitch. Strider said, "The curveball will give me a little more room to move my fastball around.”

Whether or not both his breaking balls have a big enough mph and horizontal/vertical movement difference to actually classify as two separate pitches remains to be seen. However, this great video below from the Pitching Ninja account on X (formerly known as Twitter), allows you to see how difficult it can be for hitters who are gearing up for 99 mph only to have a nasty breaking ball dropped on them.

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