Braves: Mike Soroka proves he’s ready, so what’s next?

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The Braves’ start to the season couldn’t be going any better. They are 14-4, winners of eight straight games and sit clear of the Mets by three games for first place in the NL East, but what is going on in Gwinnett with Mike Soroka is equally as exciting.

The Maple Maddux is looking like himself again. His Spring Training was delayed by a few weeks because of a hamstring injury, so he never got a chance to compete for a roster spot, but after last night’s dominant performance, I’m not sure how much longer the Braves can keep him out of Atlanta.

Soroka turned back the clock on Tuesday, which is almost insane to say for a 25-year-old pitcher. However, considering everything he has been through over the last three years, it is fair. Over 91 pitches, he tossed six innings of shutout ball, allowing just four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

This was Mike Soroka’s third start of the season, and he’s looked better with each passing outing. His fastball velocity has touched 95 at times, which is much higher than it was pre-injury, but as you can see from the tweet above, it sat at 92-93 last night. Still, Soroka’s stuff isn’t really about velocity. His success is built off of the movement of his pitches and the soft contact it induces, which has been prevalent in each of his appearances this season.

The question now is — what’s next?

After tossing 91 pitches last night, Mike Soroka is fully stretched out. He could start in a major-league game as early as next week, proving he’s capable of throwing 100 pitches, and his stuff has certainly looked good enough to receive the call. However, the Braves don’t really have a need for another starter right now.

With Bryce Elder‘s emergence, the rotation is full, and I can’t imagine the club deciding to option him after all of the good work he’s done at the major-league level. He’s earned a spot on the roster for good, and the other four in the rotation are not going anywhere.

The Braves may choose to ride with a six-man rotation for the time being while everything sorts itself out. They could also wait for another injury to arise, or they could look to find another role for Soroka. Having him as a long relief option would be intriguing; however, I doubt they want to stash him in the bullpen this early in the season. At that point, they should probably just keep letting him build confidence in Gwinnett.

It is one of the most intriguing storylines of the season, and it’s possible we get a conclusion sooner rather than later. Mike Soroka is back, and it’s just a matter of time before we see him take the mound again at Truist Park to a standing ovation from the entirety of Braves Country.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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