The news today is bad for Mike Soroka. The Atlanta Braves will have to move forward without him for the foreseeable future.
Now, though: he’s back to square one. Even after his update report from a couple of weeks ago, this can’t be spun as anything but bad news for him:
No actual running, pitching, or throwing… just… “walking to the clubhouse“. The subsequent MRI revealed another “complete tear” of his repaired Achilles tendon.
Mike will have yet another surgery on that heel (his third) next week. He is done for the year… and likely a lot more:
We can speculate that the issue revealed recently about sutures that Mike’s body rejected meant that the initial repair didn’t “take” properly, but regardless, he now has to start over.
It’s obviously a huge setback, but here’s the best positivity that we can come up with for him:
- Soroka will turn 24 years of age in early August. If all goes well this time, he could be pitching again before he hits 25.
- Had he been drafted as a college pitcher, he’d come into the organization as a 22-year-old, and then been subject to 2-3 years in the minors (at least).
- Jacob deGrom, for example, debuted in the majors just a month short of his 26th birthday.
The gotcha, of course, is that his team control ends after the 2024 season… but perhaps he and the team can put heads together in the meantime and come to a mutually beneficial arrangement to keep him around through 2026 or so?
One of our other writers mentioned a corollary to the fate of Brandon Beachy, who threw for the Atlanta Braves from 2010 to 2013, but managed over 100 innings only once.
His situation was similar in that he had a chance to be a great frontline starter, but it was Beachy’s ulnar collateral ligament that failed him… twice. A comeback with the Dodgers in 2015 lasted only 8 innings after managing only 30 in his previous season — 2013.
In 2012 (81 innings), Beachy was brilliant: 2.00 ERA. Alas, he couldn’t get back to health after that second tear, and he was out of baseball after 2015 at the age of 28.
At this point, we can’t expect that this will be Soroka’s route: he’s still younger than Beachy was then, and the injury is completely different. Still, the surgeons will certainly have to ensure that the Achilles has a death-grip on his heel this time, for it could be his last shot at getting that right.
The Braves are still hoping that Huascar Ynoa will be back soon (perhaps early August) and that Tucker Davidson isn’t done — though the outlook for him has to be considered ‘guarded’ as he was moved to the 60-day Injured List this week:
So the Braves are in the same boat they occupied last season: not enough starting pitching. Right now it’s Morton, Fried (once he returns), Smyly, Anderson, and ‘a committee’.
Good luck to Alex Anthopoulos. It’s not going to be an easy Summer.