Blue Jays Opposing Pitcher Report: Mike Soroka

ATLANTA, GA. - JUNE 13: Mike Soroka #40 of the Atlanta Braves throws a first inning pitch against the New York Mets at SunTrust Field on June 13, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA. - JUNE 13: Mike Soroka #40 of the Atlanta Braves throws a first inning pitch against the New York Mets at SunTrust Field on June 13, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

On Tuesday, June 19, the Blue Jays begin a short two-game series at home against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves call on their rookie, Mike Soroka, to start. The Blue Jays will counter the young starter with Jaime Garcia.

Mike Soroka is still getting his feet wet in the big leagues. After beginning his season in Triple-A Gwinett, the righty was called up to the big club on May 1. The right-hander’s first start came on the same day, against the New York Mets. The rookie posted a great line, managing six complete innings, allowing one earned run, six hits, and five strikeouts. As well, he required just 80 pitches to complete the start.

Low pitch counts have been somewhat routine for the young pitcher. The highest pitch count he has reached this year came on May 12 against Miami—when he made 90 pitches. After this start, the young starter was sent to the DL with an injury.

Mike Soroka is the third west-coast Canadian starter that the Blue Jays will play this season. Previously they played James Paxton in Toronto and Nick Pivetta in Philadelphia. Soroka is a native of Calgary, Alberta. In fact, the right-hander was drafted out of Bishop Carrol high school in Alberta.

The right-handed starter has been excellent for Atlanta this season. Through four starts, the righty has posted a 2.57 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 1.286 WHIP, and 153 ERA+. In total, he has been worth a good 0.6 fWAR.

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The rookie is almost exclusively a fastball pitcher. While there are two variations of the fastball, a four-seamer, and a sinker, his fastball usage is still incredibly high. To augment these fastballs, he will mix in sliders and the occasional change-up.

The former first-round pick uses his sinker the most, posting a use rate of 43%. The sinker is decently fast, posting an average velocity of 93.36, and has resulted in a high amount of ground balls. Through four big league starts, the sinking fastball has produced ground balls on 55.17% of balls in play. As well, he has limited extra base hits well with the sinker, posting a .297 SLGA.

Soroka uses has used his four-seam fastball 28.1% of the time this season. The fastball is, interestingly, a little bit slower than the sinker, posting an average velocity of 93.32 mph. As well, the heater has been much worse than the sinker, allowing a .333 BAA and .417 SLGA.

The righty has used his slider 21% of the time this season. The slider is decently hard, averaging a velocity of 85.5 mph. As well, it has produced great groundball numbers. The breaking ball has produced worm-burners on 62.50% of balls in play. However, it is the only pitch in the rookie’s arsenal that has been hit for a home run.

The right-handed hurler rounds out his pitching repertoire with a change-up, thrown 7.9% of the time. The change has produced an excellent amount of swing-and-miss, producing whiffs on 70% of swings. As a result, in very limited showings, the change has never been hit.

Soroka has been about average at producing strikeouts this season. In four starts, the righty owns a decent 21.4% K-rate, and a mediocre 8.14 K/9. In total, the rookie has struck out nineteen batters in 21 complete innings.

The right-hander has allowed just one home run in four starts and 21 innings pitched this season. As a result, his HR/9 sits at an incredibly low 0.43. However, his HR/FB sits a little low, at 7.7%. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the righty will regress in the future and give up a fair amount of home runs.

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The Blue Jays will look to extend their winning streak on Tuesday night against Soroka. However, it will be difficult to mount much offence against a pitcher they don’t know, and a pitcher that has been playing excellent baseball recently.