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2016 Braves Minor League Review: Best Tools - Part Two

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Strong season by Soroka won him two illustrious Choppy’s

Mike Soroka Delivers a pitch Jeff Morris

Back at it with part 2 of our best tools series and today we tackle the pitchers. If you missed the fun of part one here you go.

Fastball

When you are a starter that can throw high 90s in the 8th inning this selection becomes pretty easy. Patrick Weigel fell in the draft because of command problems, problems the Braves have really helped lessened which have lead him to becoming a high end starter with three potential plus pitches. There are a ton of high speed arms in the organization now but Weigel can hold that velocity deep into games making him a unanimous selection for best fastball.

Eric had this to say about Weigel “he touches triple digits, changes speeds, and adjustments to his mechanics have led to him keeping the ball down and getting ground balls seemingly at will. Easy pick here.”

Honorable mention: None (unanimous)

Curveball

Everyone has seen the Touki Toussaint curveball and you all know how sharp the break is on it, yet this was still a tough selection. Kolby Allard, and Max Fried both possess tough to hit curveballs but the Toussaint pitch stands out. After struggling with some command issues early in the season Toussaint underwent a huge mechanical change in his windup and since then…well let us let the numbers do the talking. Over his final 24 games Toussaint finished with a 3.11 ERA and 9.10 K/9. The walks flashed now and again with one, five walk game and five, four walk games but the strides he made in 2016 have to be noted. Enough about his season – watch this beautiful pitch and try not to get excited.

Honorable mention: Kolby Allard, Max Fried

Slider

Best slider was much more difficult to select because while there are plenty of pitchers with devastating sliders, seriously Trevor Belicek had the best when I saw him in Rome, but AJ Minter came away with this one. Garrett had this to say about Minter’s slider “Minter has one of the best 1-2 combos you will see, and that slider is just unfair. When it comes to relief prospects not many compare to AJ.”

Honorable mention: Patrick Weigel

Changeup

I have all the power in this category as Matt, Garrett, and Eric all voted for 3 separate players and with that power I select Ian Anderson as best changeup in the organization. When you watch the video of Ian pitching you have to remind yourself that he’s only 18 years old, and that comes with his advanced feel for his changeup. Matt had this to say about Ian Anderson “Anderson has the arsenal of a much more polished pitcher than what you would expect from an NY state prep arm, and the changeup is a very big part of it.”

Honorable mention: Akeel Morris, Max Povse

Command

I like Garrett’s quote so that’s all that is going to go here. “Watching Soroka pitch is like watching a foreign action film without subtitles. There’s so much you can’t even begin to comprehend but yet the captivation of what you see keeps you from looking away. The man is a machine.”

Honorable mention: None

Control

The final category is a rather easy one given his absolutely dynamite season compiling a crazy 143 innings, in his first full season of pro ball and just including the regular season, in which he had a 2.0 BB/9. He may not have the flashiest arsenal, it’s still pretty dang good, but Mike Soroka is an incredibly efficient pitcher that can locate all of his pitches wherever he wants. 18 of Soroka’s 24 starts this year ended with at most 1 walk.

Honorable mention: None