The most intriguing position battle to me is the fifth and final spot in the Braves rotation. Shortstop is obviously a critical one, but I expect Vaughn Grissom to take the reins. Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, and Bryce Elder will compete for just one starting position, and everyone will be full-go once Spring Training rolls around, including Mike Soroka.
Mike Soroka is in good spirits. It seems like he feels like himself again. He’ll be a full go — and on the same schedule as the other pitchers — come spring. He’s really excited to get to camp.
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) January 21, 2023
Soroka’s MLB journey has been a wild ride. The Canadian burst onto the scene in 2019, posting an impressive 2.68 ERA over 174.2 innings as a rookie, accruing 4.0 fWAR and earning Cy Young recognition. But he would go on to suffer two Achilles injuries.
Amazing enough, Soroka is as driven as ever to be successful. Alex Anthopoulos even went as far as to say the young man will be a ‘stud’ again. Moreover, FanGraphs believes Mike Soroka will be the fifth-most impactful starter in the Braves rotation in 2023, over guys like Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder. The site projects 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.
Expectations should be tempered. He hasn’t toed the rubber of a major league mound in years, and the last time we saw him pitch in a live game, Soroka struggled in Triple-A Gwinnett. Still, it’s impossible not to be giddy about the thought of a healthy Mike Soroka joining an already elite rotation. Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, and Charlie Morton are as solid as any 1-4 in baseball.
Mike Soroka has all the intangibles to climb the mountain again; he’s only 25 years old too. Alex Anthopoulos obviously is going to support his guys, but his confidence in Soroka returning to an elite level is something I didn’t expect. I’m excited to see who comes out on top of the fifth-spot battle.