So much for any hope that the Atlanta Braves would make significant additions to their pitching staff this offseason.
Instead, the Braves are going to look within to improve. According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, the Braves feel that Mike Soroka and Kirby Yates will be “huge adds” for the team in 2023 after they have a normal offseason.
Atlanta Braves banking on Mike Soroka, Kirby Yates in 2023
One can understand why the Braves would have high hopes for those pitchers. Soroka appeared to be on his way to stardom before tearing his Achilles twice, posting a 2.68 ERA and a 1.111 WHiP in his 174.2 innings in 2019, striking out 142 batters with 41 walks as he made the All Star Game.
Yates was also an All Star in 2019, leading the majors with 41 saves as he posted a 1.19 ERA and a 0.890 WHiP in his 60.2 innings, striking out 101 batters with 13 walks. However, he struggled at the beginning of the 2020 season and needed Tommy John surgery, costing him all but nine games over the past two seasons.
If Soroka and Yates are healthy, they can be key pieces moving forward. Soroka would likely slot in as the Braves fifth starter at the start of the season and could be the best pitcher in that spot in the game. Yates would be another high leverage reliever that the Braves need in the back of the bullpen, providing another option in case Raisel Iglesias struggles.
But that is a big if. Even if Soroka and Yates are able to return to the diamond, there is no guarantee that they will be able to be the pitchers they once were. And yet, that is what the Braves could be counting on as they head into 2023.
The Atlanta Braves are hoping that Mike Soroka and Kirby Yates can make a difference in 2023. Banking on their health could be a losing proposition.