It has been known for a while that Mike Soroka was having one of the greatest seasons ever by a Canadian born hurler. But why just limit it to that? Soroka is having one of the better seasons of all National League pitchers in 2019.
With the juiced ball that has run rampant across the game, Soroka is the ultimate minority…he keeps the ball in the park. He has allowed just eight home runs in 147.2 innings of work.
Quietly, even outside of creating the dead ball, Soroka has been one of the best hurlers in the game in 2019 in several areas. He ranks sixth in pitching WAR, tied with Jacob deGrom at 5.3. Soroka and deGrom are second in the National League, sandwiched between a pair of division rivals. He is just behind Max Scherzer and just ahead of his Nationals teammate Patrick Corbin. His 2.44 ERA is second to Hyun-Jin Ryu and two points ahead of Scherzer. Soroka is leading all of baseball with his 190 Adjusted ERA+. His Win Probability Added (WPA) ranks sixth, tied with Kirby Yates. In this, Soroka finds himself just behind Justin Verlander, Will Smith, Max Scherzer, Felipe Vazquez, and Ryu.
The reason that Soroka does not get the love that other pitchers do in the media is that he does not fill up the sexy stats the same. Soroka is a relatively low-strikeout pitcher with smaller 6.9 K/9. However, his two walks per nine keeps his SO/W at a respectable 3.42.
In looking at Soroka’s splits, he has some peaks and valleys, but overall, he is just flat consistent. He had a tough June, but his ERA was still south of four. Otherwise, he has not posted an ERA over 3.07 for any other month in the 2019 season. He did see some luck in July, as his BAA, WHIP and hits allowed were higher than in June. August has been a huge bounce back from the unhittable righty from the first two months.
Even with the months ups and downs, his first half numbers and second half totals so far are basically identical. One interesting tidbit is that his road numbers are considerably better than his home. In 14 starts away from Atlanta, Soroka has dominated to the tune of a 1.44 ERA and 0.935 WHIP. In fact, he has allowed the same 64 hits allowed, but in 27.2 innings fewer worked on the road.
Soroka has worked with a nasty slider all season long, but actually went away from it more in June and July, throwing it less than any other month. He has not allowed a batting average against with the pitch of more than .191 in any month and no more than a .286 slugging percentage against in any month. The fastball and sinker are where he has seen his most increase in slugging against after the first two months.
The best news about Soroka is that he just turned 22 on August 4. After digging deep into the numbers, Soroka has been really good in 2019. He might not be a Cy Young candidate just yet, but at such a young age that appears to be in his future.