Mike Soroka’s gem against the hated New York Mets continues Atlanta Braves trend of emerging arms — a surprise but a welcome one!
Two starting pitchers dueled in a tight, low-scoring affair between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on Wednesday afternoon.
One of them, New York’s Jacob deGrom, has been one of the elite hurlers in all of baseball this year, by any measure.
The other? That’d be the fresh-faced Mike Soroka, who at age 20 is not yet old enough to drink, but old enough to take a no-hitter into the 7th inning in just his 4th career big-league start.
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That’s exactly what he did, earning the win as the first-place Atlanta Braves edged the free-falling New York Mets 2-0.
For Soroka, who made Wednesday’s start following a stint on the 10-day DL due to a shoulder strain, the 6 1/3 shutout innings served as a clear indicator that he belongs at the highest level.
Despite not having a big-league start in over a month, Soroka showed no signs of rust, cruising through the Mets’ order while only allowing two hitters to reach base.
For the Braves, the gem from the youngest starter in baseball was just the latest development in the franchise’s return to contender-status, reaping what they’ve sowed on the farm for the last few years: pitching.
Good, young, homegrown pitching.
Following the 2014 season when Atlanta unofficially began its long road to rebuilding, the organization made waves by trading has proven MLB talent for highly-touted prospects. Two of those deals, less than a year apart, brought Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb to the Braves.
And the 2018 versions of those two pitchers answer the, “Was it worth it?” question with a resounding “yes,” as loud as the drum beyond the centerfield wall at SunTrust Park.
According to Fangraphs, both Foltynewicz and Newcomb rank among the top 11 for qualified National League starters in WAR, and among the top nine in ERA. Both have taken tremendous jumps in performance in comparison to last year’s growing pains. They’ve seemingly turned the corner at a perfect time for Atlanta’s evolution into a potential playoff team.
Now enter into the fray, Mike Soroka.
The kid from Canada was ranked by MLB.com as the Braves’ third-best prospect before this season. He pitched to the tune of just five earned runs in more than 22 innings of work in his first four starts at Triple-A Gwinnett before his big-league debut.
Here, still nearly two months until his 21st birthday, Soroka is pitching great baseball for an Atlanta team that is seeing its patience pay dividends.
True, the Atlanta Braves are ahead of plans. They probably weren’t supposed to be this good until 2019.
But if the young Atlanta arms continue to silence the doubters they way they have, Soroka’s outing versus the Mets on Wednesday might be the tip of the proverbial iceberg for what’s in store.