Mike Soroka was not one of the young Braves pitchers to make the Opening Day rotation, but he might prove to be the most important hurler on the staff before all is said and done.
Making his third start for the big club since he was recalled on April 18, the 21-year-old was excellent again Monday versus the Padres with six frames of one-run ball. He gave up only four singles and one walk on the night, striking out a season-high eight batters in the process.
Soroka has allowed just one run in each of his three outings for the Braves this season, and he’s pitched deeper into each game, going five, 5 2/3 and six innings, respectively. He lowered his ERA to 1.62 with Monday’s effort and he now boasts a 21/6 K/BB ratio over 16 2/3 frames.
There are a couple potential negatives to keep in mind with Soroka. One is that he didn’t pitch in the second half last season because of a shoulder injury and he dealt with shoulder issues during spring training, as well. Another is that he threw just 56 1/3 innings last season because of said shoulder injury, so the Braves aren’t going to push him. The team has been pretty clear that they plan to shuffle their young arms in and out of the rotation this season as a way to rein in their workloads.
That said, we’ve constantly heard about how polished Soroka is, especially for a guy who’s so young. Those scouting reports have proven accurate to this point, and he’s starting to miss more bats, too. Even with a relatively limited number of innings, Soroka has the potential to be a difference-maker for fantasy owners.
Jesus Aguilar needed that one.
Aguilar belted not only his first but also his second home run of the season in the Brewers’ 5-1 win over the Rockies on Monday. The big first baseman took Kyle Freeland deep both times, hitting a three-run home run to center field in the first inning and an opposite-field solo shot in the third. He also added a single.
Amazingly, the three hits were more than Aguilar had accumulated over the previous two weeks. It was his first multi-hit game of the season.
While he certainly took a step in the right direction, Aguilar has a ways to go before he can earn his way back into fantasy owners’ circle of trust. For one, Aguilar hasn’t started a game against a right-hander since April 17. Perhaps he’ll be in there Tuesday versus German Marquez after Monday’s big night, but we wouldn’t count on it. Eric Thames is sporting a .963 OPS this season and has become the preferred option against righties for manager Craig Counsell.
“Look, we have to perform. There’s no question about it,” Counsell said before the game. “This is the right spot again today for him, it is. Eric is playing well, and that’s definitely going to factor into this -- we have options at that position. … Against these lefties, it’s a good chance for him to try to get going, and that’s really as much as we can do. He’s attempted to make some physical changes. We’re at the point where we need results.”
Marvelous Mr. Mize
It appears that Casey Mize was ready for Double-A ball.
Making his first start with Double-A Erie on Monday in Altoona, Mize tossed a no-hitter. He walked one batter, hit another batter with a pitch and struck out seven, needing just 98 pitches to complete the gem. Yes, it was not only a no-no but also a “Maddux.” Oh, and two of the 28 balls Mize threw were automatic balls because of pitch clock violations.
In five starts this season between High- and Double-A, Mize has given up just one run across 35 innings. He’s permitted only seven hits and two walks while fanning 32. That’s a 0.26 ERA, 0.26 WHIP and 32/2 K/BB ratio.
When asked in my weekly chat last Thursday whether Mize could push to debut this season, I expressed some doubt. After all, it was just last June when he was taken with the No. 1 overall pick of the Draft, and he entered this season with a mere 13 2/3 pro innings under his belt. There’s also the fact that the rebuilding Tigers have no real reason to push him, especially with service time consideration in play.
Following Mize’s no-hitter, I exchanged emails with our resident prospect expert, Christopher Crawford, who also mentioned Mize’s service time as a reason why the hurler’s major league debut might be delayed. However, Chris still thinks there’s “absolutely” a chance Mize is up at some point in 2019, believing he’s “just about ready to go” when it comes to his “stuff and ability to locate.”
National League Quick Hits: Nationals manager Dave Martinez said the team will re-evaluate Anthony Rendon's (elbow) situation after Monday's game and may make a decision on a possible injured list stint. … A.J. Pollock is expected to be placed on the injured list with a right elbow infection. … Fernando Tatis Jr. (hamstring) was not in the Padres' lineup Monday. … Christian Yelich (back) sat out Monday’s game. … Jesse Winker homered off Edwin Diaz in the top of the ninth to propel the Reds to a win over the Mets on Monday. … Zach Davies allowed just an unearned run over 5 1/3 innings in a victory over the Rockies on Monday. … Ender Inciarte was removed from Monday's game versus the Padres because of right hamstring tightness. … The Giants placed Derek Holland on the injured list with a left index finger bone bruise. … Freddy Peralta (shoulder) will rejoin the Brewers' rotation later this week. … Robinson Cano (hand) was not in the Mets' lineup Monday versus the Reds.
American League Quick Hits: Jake Odorizzi fired seven scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and fanning seven in the Twins' victory over the Astros on Monday. … Justin Verlander allowed just two hits and one run over six innings with seven strikeouts but took a loss against the Twins on Monday. … Pedro Severino went 2-for-3 with a homer and a walk in the Orioles' loss to the White Sox on Monday. … Nate Lowe went 1-for-4 with a double, walk and run scored against the Royals on Monday in his major league debut. … DJ LeMahieu remains day-to-day after an MRI confirmed that is dealing with inflammation in his right knee. … J.D. Martinez (back) had a two-RBI single in his return to action Monday. … Billy Hamilton (hamstring) was held out again Monday but is expected back Tuesday.