Alex Anthopoulos confident in Mike Soroka’s future: “Will be a stud again”

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There might not be a more beloved Braves player who has played fewer games than Mike Soroka. The Canadian burst on the scene in 2019 when he posted an incredible 2.68 ERA over 174.3 innings, accruing 4.0 fWAR as a rookie. However, he’s suffered two Achilles injuries since then and hasn’t toed the rubber of a major league mound in what feels like forever. There is no precedent for what Soroka has to overcome as a 25-year-old, but Alex Anthopoulos is confident the young man will be a ‘stud’ again.

In an interview with David O’Brien of The Athletic (53-minute mark), Anthopoulos was asked if he was cautiously optimistic about Soroka’s future. AA mentioned the injury wasn’t arm related, which is important to remember but continued on about his work ethic, aptitude, and talent as reasons for believing Soroka will come out on top of these injuries. A GM will give his guys a vote of confidence, but Anthopoulos seems adamant Soroka will regain his form.

FanGraphs believes Mike Soroka will be the fifth-most impactful starter in the Braves rotation in 2023, over guys like Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder, all of whom will be competing for the final spot in the starting rotation. The site projects him throwing in 32 games, including 16 starts, posting a 6-6 record over 108.0 innings with a 4.21 ERA and 4.03 FIP.

The Braves should enter the season as they did in 2022, with little to no expectations of Soroka contributing at the major league level. It’s foolish for anyone, fans included, to expect the 2019 version of Soroka in 2023. Over the last few years, he’s hardly pitched at all, and the last time we saw him, Soroka was struggling in Gwinnett. All the focus should be on him getting through the year healthy.

While I try to temper expectations, it’s impossible not to be giddy about the thought of a healthy Mike Soroka joining an already-loaded rotation. Max Fried is the best lefty on the planet, finishing second in the Cy Young race last year. Spencer Strider broke Randy Johnson’s record for the fastest pitcher to 200 strikeouts, and he might be better than Fried. Kyle Wright is coming off a 20-win campaign and top-ten finish in the NL Cy Young Race, and Charlie Morton is primed for a bounce back campaign.

Mike Soroka is still very young; most players don’t even reach The Show by age 25, and Alex Anthopoulos giving him a vote of confidence makes me believe he has a real shot at returning to the level of play we saw in 2019.

 

 

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