Spencer Strider made his highly anticipated pro debut Friday night, and it lived up to the billing and more.
Strider, Atlanta’s fourth-round pick last year out of Clemson, fired three perfect innings with seven strikeouts in his first start for the org for Augusta at Myrtle Beach. He actually struck out eight, but the umpire badly missed a call on a strike three.
The debut was pure dominance. Strider threw maybe three or four pitches that weren’t fastballs, and Myrtle Beach was constantly underneath and behind on the pitch. He pumped fastballs up in the zone with strong command and confidence throughout.
The fastball has plus potential with plus running life up and arm-side. It has immense carry up in the zone with an electric late hop that causes batters to swing late and underneath. He’s comfortable working up with regularity and can change eye levels at times. He filled the zone and showed advanced command in the upper half of the zone. I don’t have velocity for this outing, but he’s been 93-97 and has touched 99 in the past.
Strider threw a few curveballs but lacked feel for them. It flashed average depth and come downward ability, but it showed early with hump and lacked effective bite. He needs to tighten the spin and gain depth to be able to play off the fastball. Strider didn’t show his changeup in this outing. It’s said to have made huge strides at the alternate site and instructs. Overall, it produces mixed results but flashes very well and could develop into his go-to secondary. Friday’s start appeared to be more about Strider getting comfortable on a pro mound and getting in his work.
He has a moderate build and lacks height on the mound. He does use his moderate height to his advantage, though, but generating angle with his three-quarters slot to produce “rise” on the fastball. He’s a good athlete with quick actions and plus arm speed. It’s a straightforward release with a late arm path that he gets away with because of his quickness. He repeats well and surprised me with the level of command he showed.
It’s impossible to project Strider’s role after this start. He threw basically 99% fastballs and was only out there for three innings. I put a reliever role on him based on his college work, but I always revisit roles after getting pro looks. Strider’s report will have to wait until I get a better grasp of his overall profile.
May 18-23: at Nashville (Brewers)
May 18-22 at 7:35 p.m., May 23 at 3:05
May 18-23: vs. Chattanooga (Reds)
May 18-21 at 7:35 p.m. EDT, May 22 at 6:05, May 23 at 2:05
May 18-23: vs. Bowling Green (Rays)
May 18-21 at 7 p.m., May 22 at 6, May 23 at 2
May 18-23: vs. Fayetteville (Astros)
May 18-21 at 7:05 p.m., May 22 at 6:05, May 23 at 2:05
Prospects to Watch This Week
Tucker Davidson has dominated through two starts, totaling 14 strikeouts while allowing one run on seven hits in 14 innings. He threw seven scoreless innings on four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts May 12. He’s lined up to start Tuesday at Nashville, and his outings are currently must-watch for Braves prospect fans.
Before an 0-fer Saturday night,Shea Langeliers was 3-7 with a home run and five walks in his previous three games. He’s displaying both a solid amount of power and a strong recognition of the strike zone early in his Double-A stint. The latter is more important to his development at the plate and was the main question surrounding his bat. If he can continue working counts and punishing hittable pitches, he could make his way to Gwinnett at some point.
It should come as no surprise that Michael Harris leads Rome in hitting so far, entering the new week at .333. He boosted his average by going 4-4 with a home run Sunday, following only his second 0-ofer night of the season so far Saturday. He’s quietly getting on base and producing at a steady clip so far.
I’m taking the easy way out here, but after what Spencer Strider did in his debut last week, his follow-up start will be worth watching. It will be interesting to see if he expands his repertoire next time out and starts showing more changeups and curveballs.
5/15: UTL Johan Camargo optioned to Triple-A
5/14: OF Guillermo Heredia sent to rehab assignment at Triple-A
5/13: RHP Carter Linton assigned to Low-A
5/13: RHP Jose Rodriguez assigned to Triple-A
5/13: C Victor De Hoyos activated at Low-A
5/13: OF Drew Campbell placed on 7-day IL at Low-A
5/13: RHP Peyton Williams placed on 7-day IL at Low-A
5/12: LHP Sean Newcomb recalled to Atlanta
5/12: RHP Bryse Wilson optioned to Triple-A
5/11: RHP Spencer Strider assigned to Low-A
5/11: OF Jaycob Brugman placed on 7-day IL at Triple-A
5/11: RHP Jay Flaa assigned to Triple-A
5/11: RHP Trevor Kelley activated from temporarily inactive list at Triple-A
5/11: RHP Bryse Wilson recalled to Atlanta
5/11: OF Garrison Schwartz assigned to High-A from Double-A
5/11: RHP Will Latcham activated at Double-A
5/11: LHP Jake Higginbotham placed on 7-day IL at Double-A
5/11: RHP Brent Burgess placed on 7-day IL at Low-A
5/10: UTL Johan Camargo recalled to Atlanta
5/10: RHP Jasseel De La Cruz optioned to Triple-A
5/10: RHP Victor Arano optioned to Triple-A
5/10: RHP Carl Edwards Jr. elected free agency
5/10: INF Sean Kazmar Jr. outrighted to Triple-A
5/9: RHP Shane Greene optioned to Triple-A
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