Braves' Spencer Strider among league leaders in fun new(ish) statistic

Spencer Strider produces some funny swings from opposing players. Finally, MLB has found a way quantify just that, and to the surprise of no one, Spencer ranks among the best.

St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

MLB has found a way to define one of the most popular pitching terms in recent years. I am of course talking about the term of a "sword", which was coined by the great Rob Friedman. Rob is better known as the "Pitching Ninja" on X (formerly known as Twitter).

He began using the term "sword" to describe when a hitter make a very weak, non-competitive swing on a nasty pitch from the pitcher. In Mike Petriello's latest article, he talks about how MLB has chosen to define a sword with it's new bat-tracking data via statcast, and begin keeping track on which pitchers induce the most. For my visual learners out there, just take a look at these examples below.

As you can see, these are some uncomfortable swings taken against some downright filthy pitches. For Braves fans, when we think about the talented pitchers we have on the roster, one name sticks out when we hear the term sword. That of course, is one Spencer Strider, who possesses some of the filthiest pitches in all of baseball. As you can imagine, this latest statistic backs that up.

Spencer Strider stacks up the swords

The leaderboard is just what we imagined, with Strider ranking second in all of baseball in number of swords produced. And the pitch that did the most damage was Strider's slider, which resulted in 45 swords, the most of any pitch type in baseball.

It's easy to see why hitters have so many weak swings against Strider's slider, when you factor in most of them are gearing up for an fastball that averaged 97 mph. Not only did the slider make hitters look silly, it was one of the most effective pitches in terms of run value (12) in the league.

Batters had an abysmal .162 xBA, .259 xSLG, and .222 xwOBA against his slider. Spencer threw that slider 33.8% of the time and still had a 55.3 whiff%, and 50.9 K% respectively. Just unreal work from one of the most electric pitchers in baseball. Here's to many more swords in 2024.

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