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The Daily Chop: Spring updates, Mike Soroka’s focus and more

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Mike Soroka came to camp hoping to improve his fastball.

MLB: NLDS-Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday was a less eventful day for the Atlanta Braves as they held their first official workout with pitchers and catchers. The team announced on Wednesday that veteran starter Cole Hamels would miss the first three weeks of camp which will cause him to not be ready for the start of the season.

There was some good news on the injury front as reliever Jacob Webb is in camp and throwing without any restrictions. The team was forced to shut Webb down during the second half of the 2019 season due to elbow soreness. If Webb is healthy then he may be an early favorite to claim one of the team’s final sports in the rotation.

More Braves News

Felix Hernandez spoke with the media on Thursday saying that he is healthy and that he is ready to compete for a spot on Atlanta’s Opening Day roster.

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman caught up with young right-hander Mike Soroka who said that he is focused on improving the consistency of his four-seam fastball this spring.

Cory McCartney gives nine thoughts for nine positions as Braves camp opens.

Baseball Prospectus released its PECOTA projections earlier this week and turned heads with an 83-79 projections for the Braves. Craig Goldstein took a deeper look at the reasons for the more pessimistic projection. Also at BP, Jeff Wiser previews the Braves and talks how things could go right and wrong for the 2020 team.

Braves Prospects

Eric Cole caught up with Braves outfield prospect Stephen Paolini who discussed the draft process, his professional debut and the upcoming season.

MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis lists the Braves as the third best team with the best outfield trio in the minor leagues with Cristian Pache, Drew Waters and Michael Harris. The Mariners topped the list with the Diamondbacks coming in second.

FanGraphs Eric Longenhagen lists the group of prospects who he expects to make the Top 100 list in 2021 including Braves infield prospect Braden Shewmake.

More MLB News

The Houston Astros held a press conference on Thursday where players spoke openly about the sign-stealing scandal that has engulfed the sport this offseason. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and George Springer were some of the players to speak and offer remorse. For many though, the apologies didn’t go far enough and in some ways have made the situation worse.

Finally, the Arizona Diamondbacks and right-hander Aaron Blair have an agreement on a minor league contract. Blair was a former first-round pick of the Diamondbacks who was a part of the Shelby Miller trade with Atlanta. Blair never found success in Atlanta and later underwent shoulder surgery that limited him to just 2 2/3 innings over the past two seasons.