Despite the Braves reiterating that they wanted Michael Soroka to remain in the major leagues when they finally decided to promote him, which was the reason why they waited so long, it only took two starts in the majors for them to decide to send him back down to Gwinnett.
The swiftness of the move was a little shocking, but Soroka didn’t do much in those two outings to inspire confidence. He posted an 8.38 ERA and an even worse 8.77 FIP. He also had more walks (7) than he did strikeouts (5). The stuff that made Soroka one of the most dominant young pitchers in the game a few years ago is still apparent, but his control is not quite where it needs to be.
The Braves recognized that and felt it was better for him to work on the kinks in Gwinnett rather than get roughed around at the major-league level. It also doesn’t hurt that they have an ace up their sleeve in AJ Smith-Shawver, who dominated in his MLB debut out of the bullpen following Soroka’s start on Sunday.
The 20-year-old rookie looks poised to get the next opportunity in the rotation, continuing his astronomical rise through the organization. Less than two months ago, Smith-Shawver was in high-A ball. The Braves clearly have a lot of faith in his potential, and it’s going to be exciting to see how he handles things, but that doesn’t mean the book is closed on Soroka. He still hasn’t lost his confidence following a couple of shoddy performances.
“I see no reason why I can’t go back out there and show everyone what I’m capable of because it’s there,” Soroka told Maria Matin of 11 Alive News.
Michael Soroka’s sinker has been his go-to offering over his entire career. Unfortunately, that’s the pitch he’s struggling with right now. He can’t find the zone with it, and when he does, it’s not moving enough to be effective. That’s why the Braves didn’t hesitate to move him back to Gwinnett. If he can find that offering again, he’ll make his way back to Atlanta, where he will hopefully stay for the remainder of the season.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire