2022 Braves Player Review: Spencer Strider

This time last year, I don’t think even Spencer Strider would’ve believed you if you told him just how well 2022 would turn out for the hard-throwing righty.

It’s not that 2021 was a bad big-league debut for the Clemson product. He appeared twice for the Atlanta club, posting a 3.86 ERA over 2 1/3 innings and even picked up a win in his second appearance. Paired with 153 strikeouts in 94 innings across four minor-league levels, it was easy to see why Strider was getting attention coming into Spring Training.

In 2022, Strider had the kind of year you’d be crazy to predict for a rookie, though.

He started the season coming out of the bullpen and amassed a 2.22 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings of relief work. That’s good for 13.7 K/9, and Strider the reliever limited batters to a .478 OPS. While those numbers are incredibly valuable out of the bullpen, with the Braves searching for solutions for their rotation, it’s obvious why fans were clamoring to see Strider get his shot.

He got it on May 30, and he didn’t turn back. He had his first double-digit strikeout game against the Nationals on June 15, fanning 11 in 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball that saw him surrender just one hit. In all, he struck out 10 or more batters six times, peaking at 16 – a franchise record – against the Rockies on Sept. 1. That was also his longest start at 8 innings.

When the final tallies came in, Strider was the fastest player in major-league history to record 200 strikeouts when he did so in just 130 innings. He also finished just outside the top 10 in strikeouts in the majors for the season, despite recording significantly fewer innings than most of his competitors. The now-24-year-old also finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to teammate Michael Harris II.

On the business side of things, Strider also had a very productive year. On October 10, he signed a six-year, $75 million contract with an option for a seventh year that will keep him in Atlanta through at least 2028.

Yet with all that, there’s still some meat on the bone for Strider, so to speak.

After injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic severely limited his work in college, the 96.1 innings he threw in 2021 were far and away the most innings he had ever pitched. So the Braves were lucky to get the 131 2/3 innings they got out of the rookie flamethrower before he had to be shut down with an oblique strain after his September 18 start.

He came back for a start in Game 3 of the NLDS against Philadelphia, but it was clear the injury was still bothering him. Strider allowed five runs on three hits and two walks in just 2 1/3 innings, just a few weeks removed from fanning 10 Phillies in six innings of one-run ball in his final regular season start.

So despite posting a 2.67 ERA and an eye-popping 13.8 K/9 rate – numbers that would easily have him in the Cy Young conversation if sustained over a whole year – Strider likely finished the year with a bad taste in his mouth. He’ll spend the entire offseason preparing his body for a full season as a starting pitcher on a major-league ball club.

And I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.

30 thoughts on “2022 Braves Player Review: Spencer Strider”

  1. @bravesword from last thread

    I don’t think there’s enough data to know what Varsho is just yet, other than he is a young player capable of catching and playing elite OF defense. There’s not much to suggest he’s going to be a great hitter according to his Statcast page, but then again, he’s entering his prime years and so much could change.

    IMO, this year, if healthy, will tell us what he is, and my guess is that he’ll be as you suggested. Maybe an Adam Duvall type player.

  2. What. A. Dude. That fastball is basically like Andrelton’s defense: an 80 grade on the scouting scale, a skill so routinely overwhelming as to defy description beyond needing to sit down for a minute and saying, “Damn.”

  3. for all the teeth gnashing about the phillies and the mets passing us by, it’s easy to forget that we finished 14(!!) games ahead of the phillies last year and they’re going to be missing Harper for almost half the season and once he comes back he’ll be at dh so he’ll still be limited. sure, the mets improved a lot, but the braves aren’t going to roll over and this is going to make the regular season a lot of fun to watch.

  4. @1 — And that would be fine… except the Jays severely overpaid to find out.

    I view this trade as being like if the Braves, rather than trading Langeliers and Pache for Matt Olson, had traded them for Harrison Bader. Bader’s not a useless player, he can help a good team, but the value he provides is completely out of proportion to the price they paid to get him. So it is with this trade.

  5. @4
    I understand that viewpoint. I will include this though: My MILB friends salivate just hearing Varsho’s name mentioned. Time will tell if they’re right.

  6. With Freddie and now Dansby gone, I think Strider and Ozzie have become my favorite Braves. I’ll enjoy Strider while I can because it’s easy to see the scenario where he doesn’t have the career that resembles his rookie season.

    For Varsho, the return doesn’t look like the one that you’d expect for a perennial 5 WAR player with position versatility and under club control for several years. The return implies they’re not expecting him to be that guy.

  7. I’m with you Rob. Those are my favorite Braves too now with Fried, Morton, Riley, and Minter close behind. And like you I hope for a HoF career in a Braves uni for Strider but painfully recall all too well other young pitchers who burst onto the scene like a meteor with all the promise in the world only to just as quickly flame out, usually due to injury. Medlen and Beachy recent Braves to befall that fate.

  8. Acuña is my fav now that Freddie is gone.

    When he’s healthy and on he can carry the whole team on his back.

    Yeah, he’s a bit immature, but compared to me at 25 he’s as grown-up as grown-up gets.

  9. I want to admit here that I was deeply skeptical of Strider’s move to the rotation, given the outsize success he was having in the bullpen. Obviously it was the right move.

  10. I bet he still signs with the Mets but I doubt it’s 12 years and there are probably some injury clauses built in.

  11. @15 Yankees (or Dodgers) would be a perfect fit for Correa for that deal. Doubt the Braves would do it, but AA would definitely trade for Correa mid season if the price was right (and Grissom isn’t getting the job done).

  12. Merry Christmas, gentle folk. May the Light that is Jesus Christ shine on you this week and through all eternity.

    Go Braves.

  13. I don’t understand why we can’t load up on some of these AAAA players on MiLB deals. Sure would be nice to strike AAAA gold (like a Drury or Phillips or something lucky).

  14. I would make a list of Mets with lower body problems curtailing their careers, but it’s still Hanukkah and I don’t want to upset Steven Cohen. Get back to me early next week.

  15. Merry Christmas, Braves Journalers!
    I appreciate our interactions. There aren’t many baseball fans around my area, so my outlet is you! Enjoy today. Be patient, smile, hug, kiss, slow down, and love one another because it’s truly all that matters!

    A big shoutout to my sounding board: Alex, Rob, TFloyd, and Jonathan F. You’ve helped me so much along the way. It might be awkward to say, but I love you all and hope that 2023 is the year we catch a game together!

  16. Just for pure amusement purposes, the following is a partial list of FAs still currently available and unsigned:

    Mike Ford
    Andrelton Simmons
    Johan Camargo
    Charlie Culberson
    Phil Gosselin
    Adam Duvall
    Jake Marisnek
    Travis Demeritte
    Robbie Grossman
    Justin Upton
    Dallas Keuchel
    Mike Minor
    Anibal Sanchez
    Tommy Hunter
    Luke Jackson
    Darren O’Day
    Jackson Stephens
    Touki Toussant
    Matt Wisler
    Sean Newcomb
    Chasen Shreve
    Will Smith

    No recommendation on any of them but highly amusing the length of the list.

  17. How many will make at least one appearance for Gwinnett or Atlanta in 2023? I set the over/under at 8.

  18. @23 – After looking at the stats, it is not surprising that those guys are unsigned. Obviously I would like to see us give Luke Jackson a shot, but after that it’s pretty barren. Chasen Shreve looks interesting. He was pretty decent in 2020 and 2021 but fell off a cliff last year. Tommy Hunter is also not far removed from some decent years, but I don’t know if his back will hold out for many more innings.

  19. I think the point is that the Braves have made mostly decent decisions on who to let go (excluding high dollar FAs, Langeliers, and Evan Phillips).

  20. Jackson definitely seems like the kinda guy you let try to go get a good deal and then bring back on a ML deal. I hope he’s back.

  21. I wonder what we’d have to include to trade Ozuna + ?????? for Gurriel and Bumgarner? Seems like young pitching would fill the bill. Without Varsho, this might be a better trade idea.

    Gurriel does have experience at SS (a long time ago) as well as LF. And we could use a LH middle reliever who can spot start.

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