No. 130 John Smoltz (Number 26 Pitcher)

Imagine having a pitching staff for years where you have three of the top 26 pitchers of all time. Well Bobby Cox had that. That helped win the division every year. They also had the fifth rated third baseman in Chipper Jones. I am surprised that Smoltz ranked this high, but even if he ranks only in the top 40, this is still a lot of talent in the pitching staff. However, Smoltz led in innings pitched twice and strikeouts twice. Not bad for the third starter on the staff. He also pitched four years in relief, 3 as the relief ace and great in the post season. In the post season he had a 15-4 record with an ERA of 2.67. Despite that Smoltz’s team only one World Series in 14 years in the post season. It was the year Smoltz pitched his worse in the World Series.

In 1991 Smoltz was a young 24-year-old and was struggling with a 2-11 record. He began seeing a sports psychologist. The rest of the season he finished at 12-2. He also pitched great in the playoffs and World Series with a 2-0 record and an ERA under 2 for each series. I wonder now if baseball is still using sports psychologists. It worked well with Smoltz. If I had a team, I would want one. These owners are paying these players millions of dollars in salaries, I think it would be important that the players be mentally prepared. The season is a long grind, playing 162 games in six months with a lot of travel. I hope the teams are providing them and we just don’t hear about them. I think they can be a real good tool.

John Smoltz is now an announcer. I like to hear him announce games. His greatest strength is he knows how to get in the head of the pitcher with his battle with the batter. That is now becoming a bigger part of the game with the main plays being strikeouts, walks and homeruns. I wish there were more plays on the field but John Smoltz does the best job on the main battle, the battle between pitcher and hitter.

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