The Braves first week of minor league play was filled with fantastic performances, so it was nearly impossible to narrow it down to just one. Rio Ruiz was great at the plate and in the field for Gwinnett, Chris Ellis was nearly unstoppable for Mississippi, and the trio of Dansby Swanson, Keith Curcio, and Ryan Gebhardt were all impressive in the opening week for Carolina. In the end, we narrowed it down to a pitching prospect for Rome. Max Fried just missed the cut after his fantastic opening two outings, and Mike Soroka took home the first Minor League Player of the Week in the system. As a first round pick by Atlanta last season, Soroka entered 2016 with high expectations and has exceeded them in the early going. His combination of stuff, poise, pitching acumen, and command make him a lethal pitcher and South Atlantic League batters have just been unable to solve him early on.
Soroka is at the top of the system in every conceivable pitching category, and carries a 0.90 ERA through the first week of action. His first game of the week saw him throw 4 innings and give up only one run while striking out 7, and he was able to top that performance in his second outing. Soroka posted a line of 6 shutout innings pitched with just one hit allowed, 1 walk allowed, all while striking out 5 batters. Hitters are hitting just .147 off of Soroka to begin 2016. Soroka has looked every bit as good as his numbers would indicate, seemingly toying with hitters at times and just flat out dominating in others. He was consistent and strong throughout his starts, not seeming to lose composure or stuff as he got tired, and pounded the strike zone with 94 strikes on 140 total pitches. Mike Soroka is the real deal people, and could very well be a top 50 prospect in baseball by season's end.
Congratulations Mike on a fantastic week, as well as the many more that I'm sure are to come. Hopefully the Rome Braves can right the ship soon.