Close But No Soroka

Watching Calgary’s Mike Soroka succeed at the Major League Baseball level is somewhat bittersweet for Greg Morrison.

The Medicine Hat Mavericks owner and general manager might find himself asking “what if” when he thinks back on the summer of 2015.

Morrison had managed to convince Soroka to play for the Mavericks that summer, but it wasn’t meant to be as he was drafted in the first round of that summer’s MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Opening It Up

The last time we saw Calgarian Mike Soroka take the mound for the Atlanta Braves, he was breaking new ground.

It was Game 3 of the National League Division Series (NLDS) against the St. Louis Cardinals – an exciting 3-1 victory for Atlanta – and Soroka struck out seven batters through seven innings while surrendering no walks, just two hits and one earned run. 

It’s been a long time since that game at Busch Stadium on Oct. 6, 2019, and it feels even longer with the COVID-19 pandemic that has cancelled and postponed baseball games at all levels this year. 

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Short Stop in Saskatchewan

You could call it glove at first sight.

Western Canadian baseball fans may not have realized it at the time, but they were watching the best defensive shortstop since Ozzie Smith take the field.

That summer of 2009, a scrawny 19-year-old kid from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao made his way to the city of 15,000 people in Saskatchewan to suit up for the Yorkton Cardinals at Jubilee Park. 

Majestic moonshots were not his calling card, and if you skipped batting practice you could still witness something special from Andrelton Simmons.

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What to Expect from Soroka in 2020

The 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) campaign was a revelation for Calgary pitcher Mike Soroka.

A quick look at his accomplishments from last year shows that. He was a National League (NL) Rookie of the Year runner-up; he finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting; he won the Tip O’Neill Award, which honours Canada’s best baseball player; he pitched a three-up, three-down inning in the MLB All-Star Game; and he was a finalist for the Lou Marsh Award, given annually to the nation’s top athlete. Those are just the Coles Notes on a season filled with impressive firsts for the young man.

So, what can we expect from the 22-year-old during his sophomore season?

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Soroka Just Getting Started

It’s a frightening scenario for opposing batters next season: an improved Mike Soroka on the mound in 2020.

In some ways, that hardly seems possible.

The towering right-handed pitcher from Calgary is coming off a storybook rookie season for the Atlanta Braves that saw him post a 13-4 record, 2.68 earned run average (ERA) and 142 strikeouts over 174.2 innings.

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