Calgary pitcher, Atlanta Braves draft pick Mike Soroka climbing ranks among MLB prospects
When Mike Soroka made the move south of the border to play professional baseball, he was promptly given the moniker “The Canadian” by teammates.
“They see me and they see a country. They see, ‘OK, this is what Canadians are like. He watches hockey and says buddy a lot and that’s about it,'” Soroka laughed.
The Calgary pitcher is more than happy to own the Canadian distinction, knowing he’s part of a small baseball fraternity.
“There’s not an abundance of us in the minors and Major League Baseball. It’s a really a tight-knit group. You want to put your best stuff for the people you’re representing,” he said. “I’m representing a country down there.”
The 6’4″ right-hander is quickly becoming known for much more than where he’s from. The Bishop Carroll High School graduate became the highest Calgarian drafted into Major League Baseball in the spring of 2015, when the Atlanta Braves picked him 28th overall.
Soroka just wrapped up his first full season of professional baseball, helping lead the Braves’ Class A affiliate, the Rome Braves, to a South Atlantic League championship.
“Literally every cylinder was firing at the right time, there was no weak link,” Soroka said. “It was a special group of guys off the field too. It was easy to go to battle for them.”
Soroka finished the year with a 9-9 record and a 3.03 ERA, ranking him 8th in the league.
His strong first year didn’t go unnoticed. The 19-year-old is currently ranked 78th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list for 2017.
“Learning myself was big this year… what I have everyday on the mound, it really came together for me and I understand myself a lot better,” Soroka said. “I understand who I will be in the future and what I can be.
“Now it’s just about getting there.”
Soroka’s dream of playing in the big leagues blossomed on the diamonds in Calgary.
“Obviously, the goal is to get there as quick as you can. Nobody wants to spend too much time in the minor leagues,” he said. “That’s the dream, not the end goal. It’s a goal to make it, the next goal is to stay there and prove yourself at that level.”
All the while, Soroka continues to be a role model for local kids who share that same dream in a part of the country that isn’t synonymous with producing MLB players.
“I wasn’t the chosen one by any means… I was the same as every other kid when we were 12,” he said. “But I loved doing it, and that’s what they have to understand as well, if they love it – doesn’t matter if it’s baseball or hockey – they work hard at it and it won’t seem like hard work.
“Just getting that point across and (getting) them to understand that it is achievable is pretty special too.”
Soroka heads to his second spring training with the Braves later this month in Florida, hoping he can continue to move up the organizational ladder.
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