Friday, December 9, 2022

Braves rookie Spencer Strider strikes out 16 without any walks in win over Rockies

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves
USATSI

Braves rookie right-hander Spencer Strider continues to make a compelling case for NL Rookie of the Year — with his main competition being a teammate. The duo starred again in the Braves’ 3-0 win over the Rockies Thursday night, though it was Strider who stood out. 

Strider, 23, worked eight scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He didn’t issue a walk and he struck out 16. Sixteen! 

This was the 30th game in baseball history in which a pitcher struck out at least 16 without issuing a single walk (list here via Stathead). Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens both did it four times while Dwight Gooden (in consecutive starts!) and Max Scherzer did it twice. 

The last time it happened was Walker Buehler on June 21, 2019. Chris Sale also did it in 2019 and then we’d have to go back to 2016 before finding another game of the type. 

Now, keep in mind Strider is a rookie. Here’s a list of the rookies to pull off at least 16 strikeouts and zero walks. 

  • Spencer Strider, Sept. 1, 2022: 16 K, 0 BB
  • Jon Gray, Sept. 17, 2016: 16 K, 0 BB
  • Kerry Wood, May 6, 1998: 20 K, 0 BB
  • Dwight Gooden, Sept. 17, 1984: 16 K, 0 BB
  • Dwight Gooden, Sept. 12, 1984, 16 K, 0 BB

On the year, Strider now has 174 strikeouts in 114 2/3 innings. He is not qualified for the ERA title (the requirement is one inning per team game), but if he were, he’d be the leader in strikeout rate. He’s not even that far off the lead in strikeouts, as Corbin Burnes of the Brewers is at the top with 195. The 2.67 ERA and 0.98 WHIP for Strider indicate he’s thrown at a Cy Young level, though the workload is far too low to challenge Sandy Alcantara

The award where Strider is firmly in the mix is Rookie of the Year, as noted. His prime competition is Braves center fielder Michael Harris. Harris homered for one of the Braves’ runs on Thursday. He’s hitting .298/.344/.523 with 22 doubles, two triples, 14 homers, 46 RBI, 56 runs and is 16 for 16 in stolen bases. 

It should be a fun race between the teammates. Strider’s effort on Thursday will go a long way toward tilting things in his direction, but Harris will have plenty to say about it moving forward. 

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