Braves ace Mike Soroka suffered a torn right Achilles on Monday and will miss the rest of the season, Jeff Schultz of The Athletic was among those to report. The injury forced the right-handed Soroka out of his start early in a loss to the division-rival Mets.
Not only is this development horrible news for Soroka and the Braves, but it’s a blow to baseball fans who have been treated to his outstanding performance since he debuted in 2018. Still just 22 years old when he took the mound tonight — his birthday is tomorrow — Soroka was an All-Star last season who has registered a 2.72 ERA/3.34 FIP with 7.27 K/9, 2.17 BB/9 and a 50.4 percent groundball rate in 211 2/3 innings in the majors. Monday was just his third start of the current season, and considering the severity and timing of it, it seems fair to wonder whether Soroka will miss a chunk of time in 2021 as he works his way back.
Soroka’s year-ending injury continues a run of terrible luck in Atlanta’s rotation, which dealt with multiple problems before losing him. Righty Felix Hernandez opted out of the season over coronavirus concerns, and then big-money offseason pickup Cole Hamels went on the 45-day IL because of a triceps injury. After that, the Braves booted one-time All-Star Mike Foltynewicz from their roster in the wake of an alarming drop in velocity. Foltynewicz is still part of the organization, though, and may stand a greater chance of getting back to the majors this year in light of Soroka’s injury.
If Folty isn’t an option, the Braves could still look within, seek a trade or scour a rather uninspiring free-agent market to complement Max Fried, Sean Newcomb, Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright in their rotation. One thing’s for sure: Even though Atlanta’s 7-4 and atop the NL East, this season has not gone according to plan for its group of starters.