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Soroka Returns with Confidence, Nasty Sinker for Playoff-Hungry Braves

Lanky right-hander Mike Soroka is back for more.

The former youth league ice hockey player from Canada and the current Atlanta Brave wants to do nothing more than build on his All-Star season from one year ago. Soroka, the 6-foot-5 starting pitcher, also wants to win.

He started doing some of that last season, in his rookie year, with the Braves. Soroka jumped on the baseball scene with a 13-4 record and a 2.68 earned run average with no fielding errors and 142 strikeouts.

Soroka fielded his position. He struck some batters out with runners on base. He avoided some big innings. Soroka became a dependable arm for the Braves, who won their second straight National League Eastern Division championship.

Both the Braves and Soroka want even more this year. A World Series title is the objective. And the 22-year-old Soroka hopes to give Atlanta a chance at such a lofty goal.

He is coming off a season in which he started 29 games and pitched 174.2 innings for the Braves in 2019. Soroka was second in the Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in the Cy Young voting in the National League.

Soroka’s personal expectations are even higher this year. He will begin his third season in the Major Leagues in 2020. And he brings with him some confidence, along with a wicked sinker, a four-seam fastball and a slider.

If he really wants to fool the batters, Soroka plans on mixing it up with a changeup. He has all the pitches and most of the ability. No. 40 for the Braves wants to be the ace of the Atlanta pitching staff.

He could do that and be that. Soroka has a career earned run average of 2.79 with 163 strikeouts in the previous two seasons on the big league level.

Soroka has a 15-5 record in the Major Leagues since 2018. Right now he is going strictly on potential and no less than four pitches in his arsenal. Soroka has a feel for the game now.

He’s a confident guy. He also has a player contract worth $583,500 with the Braves. That will grow in the coming years with Atlanta, as will Soroka’s win total. No doubt.

In five years of professional baseball, the minor leagues included, Soroka has made just five fielding errors. Not only does he throw strikes, he also comes to the ball yard with some defensive skills.

The ball usually finds Soroka’s glove. In the worst way, he wants the coronavirus obstacle to end and the baseball season to begin.

Mike Soroka is ready to deal and to pitch the Braves back into first place in the National League East. That’s the thought and the baseball hope.

With No. 40 leading the way.

The author of this article can be reached via email at [email protected] net.

Chris Fernsler Sports Editor