Atlanta Braves gain two awards finalists as the off-season cranks up

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 24: Mike Soroka #40 of the Atlanta Braves talks with manager Brian Snitker #43 in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 24, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Braves defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 24: Mike Soroka #40 of the Atlanta Braves talks with manager Brian Snitker #43 in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on April 24, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Braves defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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It was a busy day for the Atlanta Braves, with options, non-options, and other baseball business… but let’s not miss the honors that are soon to be conferred.

When the MLB hardware is passed out over the next couple of weeks, two Atlanta Braves will at least have a chance to take a trophy home.

Starting pitcher Mike Soroka was named among the finalists for the National League’s Rookie of the Year award, as voted on by the Baseball Writers of America:

In addition, Braves manager Brian Snitker is among the final three tapped for the honors of National League Manager of the Year.

As noted in the tweets, it will be a week before we know the results of the voting.  As with all of these seasonal awards, the playoffs have no bearing on the results:  all ballots were to be in the mail before the post-season games began.

In one case, though… there’s reason to expect that a landslide outcome is in the offing.

Mike Soroka

It is probably no secret to suggest that the Braves’ tall right-hander will have the most difficult odds of winning.

The Canadian – reported to be the first of his nationality to be up for the award since Joey Votto in 2008 – is back home in Calgary this week, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has already found out that Mike is … still just Mike after a heckuva season:

"“The more things you have, the more things that might go wrong. So I like to be somebody where if things don’t go exactly as planned, I’m not panicking over things like rain delays or games being pushed back a day,” he said. “I keep it as light as possible.” …“I didn’t have too much pressure put on me to perform from too many spots. I was allowed to go out there and play, and I understand there’s a life outside baseball,” he said. “Baseball doesn’t define who I am as a person, and tomorrow is still going to happen. So it’s easy to take a deep breath and go have fun.”"

That’s a great attitude to have about all aspects of life, and that perspective will certainly help when Pete Alonso gets the ROY nod next week.

Soroka had a great season:  2.68 ERA, 174.2 innings, 3.47:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 13-4 record among 29 starts.  But he also had the misfortune of running up against a media darling from the Northeast this year.

Pete Alonso broke all kinds of Met records – rookie records and all-time records – with 53 homers and 120 RBI.  So he got to be in the highlight reels every 3rd night or better… while Soroka was away from the New York media and as he pitched every 5th day.

That’s just going to be too much for the writers to ignore… not that they could have done so.

Soroka could have gotten consideration for the NL Cy Young award… though it’s likely he’ll be somewhere between 5th and 10th in the voting as deGrom, Ryu, and Scherzer were named the finalists, despite the fact that Soroka finished third in the NL in ERA among qualified starters:

  • Ryu:  2.32
  • deGrom:  2.43
  • Soroka:  2.68
  • Flaherty:  2.75
  • Gray:  2.87
  • Scherzer:  2.92

The Skipper

In contrast, there’s actually a very good chance that Brian Snitker will be named MOY for the second straight year.  He’s already been tabbed as the Sporting News Manager of the Year in an announcement from late October… and that was a repeat win for him.

That would be a rare feat.  In fact, in the history of the award, only 1 manager has ever won it on back-to-back occasions.

Bobby Cox.  2004-2005.

Hall of Famers Cox and Tonny La Russa are the only 4-time winners of this award, but Snitker getting 2 trophies after just 3 full seasons at the helm would be unprecedented.

After 2019’s 97-65 season, Snitker will enter 2020 on the last confirmed year of his contract, though the Atlanta Braves hold an option on his services for 2021.

Next. "Qualifying Offer". dark

We’ll find out the results next week… and hopefully that just makes both Atlanta Braves nominees hungrier for more next season.

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