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If you’re trying to find Braves pitcher Spencer Strider in your program next season, get the number 65 out of your brain.
Strider will be No. 99 this season and it’s a nod to one of baseball’s most legendary fictional pitchers.
“My favorite movie is Major League and I like Rick Vaughn,” Strider said. “I see some similarities between Wild Thing and myself.”
Strider wore the No. 65 during an impressive rookie campaign. In 20 starts last season, Strider posted a 2.67 ERA and over 200 strikeouts.
After such a stellar debut, switching up numbers like that could ward off a sophomore slump. At least in the eyes of the especially superstitious.
One thing’s for sure: No. 99 Spencer Strider jerseys are going to sell like crazy this season. However, Strider isn’t the pitcher offering the most movie-accurate homage to Sheen’s character. Cleveland Guardians righty James Karinchak also wears No. 99.
Sure it’s a Guardians jersey now, but No. 99 in Cleveland still has to count for something.
Perhaps, Strider will use his new number to reach some of the high expectations his teammates have of him. Take teammate Kyle Wright for instance. He thinks Strider could hit a mind-boggling strikeout total this season.
“Strider might have 400 strikeouts this year, starting from the very beginning,” Wright said, per MLB.com.
That could be some hyperbole, but it’s obvious expectations are high this year for Spencer “Wild Thing” Strider.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle