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During Monday night’s series finale against the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves’ starting pitcher Mike Soroka tore his Achilles’ tendon coming off the mound to cover first base on a grounder.
In slow motion, one could visibly see his right leg “vibrate”. Soroka was unable to put any weight on the leg, and had to be carried off the field by the Braves trainer and manager Brian Snitker. The Atlanta faithful waited for updates on Soroka’s condition, only to be told he’s no longer available for the 2020 season.
What Soroka has going for him is his young age. His young body is capable of recovering faster than someone in the middle or near the end of their professional baseball career.
What he doesn’t have going for him is that he tore his Achilles in his plant foot. It is used during his pitching delivery. His plant foot is also used to push off the pitching rubber and power through the final parts of his delivery.
Simply put, that leg is more vital from a weight distribution standpoint than the leg he lands on to finish his delivery. But Soroka is a determined man, and there’s very little reason to believe that this injury will derail his career. Still, the injury is significant.
Soroka’s spot in Atlanta’s rotation will undoubtedly be filled by the ever-capable Max Fried. Fried has been masterful so far in his 2020 campaign. Unfortunately, that shift in the rotation leaves a hole on the back end.
There are multiple options the Braves have to fill the spot.
These options are on the premise that Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright and Sean Newcomb maintain their respective starter roles.
Within the Organization
On the big league ball club currently, there seems to only be really viable option.
Josh Tomlin: Tomlin has been the Braves’ long relief pitcher this year and last. He’s been one of the Braves’ best relievers. He tends to make his appearances when the team has either been down by a lot or the starter has been pulled early on. That role is different than that of a starter, but in terms of familiarity with multiple innings pitched, he’s been the leader in the pen.
Tucker Davidson: Tucker Davidson has been the most successful minor league pitcher above AA. He’s for sure one of the top two options within the organization who has not logged big league innings.
Ian Anderson: Ian Anderson is perhaps the most hyped minor leaguer in Atlanta’s organization without big-league experience. Unfortunately, he’s not been as successful in AAA as he had been leading up to that level. Anderson is not currently on the 40-man roster for Atlanta.
Bryse Wilson: The jury’s still out on Wilson’s upside, but he does have experience against the National League East. He’s been roughed up a couple times at baseball’s highest level, but he’s also shown glimpses of quality starter potential.
Chad Sobotka: Chad Sobotka is very much in the same boat as Bryse Wilson. The advantage he has on the other arms available from within is that he’s already been promoted to the big league active roster. His immediate role is still to be determined. We’ll definitely know more by the end of the weekend.