How should Michael Soroka’s 2023 season be viewed?

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When the Braves decided to place Michael Soroka on the 15-day IL yesterday morning, it was almost a foregone conclusion that his season was over. However, it could have been much worse. After yesterday’s game, it was revealed that there was no significant damage in his arm, just inflammation. He should be just fine with some rest, and he’ll have plenty of time for that this offseason.

It was fantastic news for the 26-year-old that has been through so much so early in his career when it comes to injuries. Unfortunately, Soroka wasn’t able to have the impact many hoped in his first year back from multiple Achilles injuries, but to say his 2023 season was a failure is complete blasphemy.

What Soroka accomplished this year should be viewed as a success. The guy was out of the majors for nearly three full years, pitched almost a full season’s worth of innings, and even made his first major league start since 2020. Sure, he didn’t experience much success at the major-league level, and many thought he could be a critical piece to the Braves postseason run at the start of the season, but that probably never should have been the expectation.

This was always going to be a long process. Soroka flashed a ton on the farm. His stuff remains excellent, and he posted a more than respectable 3.41 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP while limiting batters to a .205 average against with a K/9 over 9.0. That’s pretty incredible for a pitcher who had to completely revamp his mechanics.

The major-league numbers were unsightly. Soroka recorded a 6.40 ERA over 32.1 innings, but the issue is overwhelmingly apparent and more than fixable. His control needs work. Soroka walked a few too many batters and left way too many balls over the middle of the plate that led to home runs, but control was always going to be the last thing to come given all the adjustments he made to his mechanics.

It’s not a disappointment. It’s not unfixable. Soroka’s season was a lot of good mixed in with a little bad. What he should be focused on is that he got 120 innings under his belt and avoided another catastrophic injury. That is a win, and with a full offseason to continue to work on things, it’s fair to expect much better results in year two, whether it is with the Braves or someone else.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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