Braves: Mike Soroka looks like the best pitcher on the staff

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Mike Soroka made his third start of the season and did what we have all come to expect from the 21-year old rookie who has been unphased by the pressure of the big leagues. For the third consecutive game, Soroka found himself in trouble in the first inning. And for the third straight start, he got out of a sticky situation, settled down, and went without a blemish the rest of the way.

Soroka has yet to allow a run outside of the first inning all year. It’s a testament to his ability to control his emotions, even at the top level; which is something scouts have continuously praised Soroka for every step of the way. Yesterday’s game; however, was the top prospect’s best outing to date.

After allowing a couple of singles, Soroka induced a Manny Machado double-play to limit the damage to one run. The Padres would only muster three baserunners the rest of the way (2 hits, one walk), as Soroka surgically worked his way through the lineup with little effort. He struck out eight, working both sides of the plate like a savvy veteran and incorporating his deadly repertoire of fastballs, sinkers, sliders, and changeups. I even think I saw him toss a rare curveball – a sign that he is beginning to feel more comfortable since recovering from an injury that cost him the majority of last season and the early part of this one.

Soroka was pinch-hit for in the bottom half of the sixth inning when his spot came up with the bases loaded and two outs. It was a typical National League move, but one that was sure to garner some grief due to the abysmal state of the Braves’ bullpen. Soroka had only thrown 81 pitches.

The Braves didn’t give him much run support. They were gifted two runs on a Mike Soroka bunt that turned into a triple thanks to two errors on the play. Ozzie Albies continued his hot streak with a solo shot in the fifth. That’s all Soroka, and more shockingly, the bullpen needed to earn the Braves their second win in a row.

While Max Fried has left many speechless as a result of his early season run, this is what everybody around the organization expected from Soroka. He has the prototypical pitcher’s body type at 6’5″, 225 pounds; His velocity is increasing as he begins to fill out his impressive frame; His arsenal is already four pitches and expanding. And most notably, his control for such a young pitcher is second to none. The Braves have something unique breeding between Soroka and Fried. Their only concern should be keeping those two healthy for the long haul.

Here’s a picture Paul Byrd tweeted last night after Soroka exited the game. Like Byrd, I have a feeling this is going to be something Braves’ fans are witnessing for a while.

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