One of the more interesting stories of the Braves’ upcoming season is what Mike Soroka will provide in 2023. After bursting on the scene in 2019, Soroka has dealt with a myriad of injuries, chiefly the two Achilles injuries. The Canadian native posted a 2.68 ERA over 174.2 innings, good for 4.0 fWAR as a rookie. However, he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since suffering his first torn Achilles, and many in Braves Country don’t know what to expect from him this season. However, FanGraphs expects him to be the fifth-most impactful pitcher in the Braves rotation.
The site believes Soroka will pitch more innings than Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder, essentially assuming the fifth spot in the rotation. FanGraphs has 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. Those aren’t the sexiest numbers, but for a guy that hasn’t thrown in a major-league game in years, that would be a massive accomplishment.
It’s unrealistic to expect Soroka to come into the 2023 season and perform as he did as a rookie in 2019. Over the last three years, he has hardly pitched, and the last time we saw him, he was struggling in Gwinnett. Honestly, I’m not sure if we’ll ever see Soroka reach the level he did as a rookie. The focus should be to get through Spring Training healthy and ready to compete for the final spot in the rotation.
The Braves will enter next season expecting nothing from Mike Soroka, just as they did in 2022. I wouldn’t even be shocked if he began the year in Triple-A Gwinnett until he gets his feet underneath him. But if we want to think optimistically, Soroka is only 25 years old. Some players don’t even reach the big leagues by that age. He has been an All-Star caliber pitcher, a Cy Young finalist, and has gone through two significant injuries. That feels like the story of a 10-year veteran.
There’s plenty of time for Soroka to rebound, but I expect Ian Anderson to take hold of the fifth spot in the rotation. Sure, he struggled the entire season in 2022. But don’t forget how dominant he was during the World Series run. In fact, he’s been as good as anyone in the playoffs, owning a 1.26 ERA over 35.2 innings. I still have a ton of confidence in what Anderson can provide; a six-man rotation isn’t out of the question, so both of these young pitchers can have adequate time to prove themselves.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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