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Mike Soroka (SP, ATL) - Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers

BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 275

CURRENT ADP: ~295 overall

ANALYSIS: Although he only threw 25.2 big league innings last year, there’s a lot to love about Mike Soroka. The fact that he already received his Major League call-up in May this past season says enough in itself that he’s a top-tier talent. Soroka’s season was cut short in 2018 due to an injury to his throwing shoulder, which has caused his draft stock to take a hit so far in early drafts. This fact gives him huge sleeper potential going into the 2019 season as a mere 21-year-old.

On May 1, Soroka took the mound for his major league debut against the New York Mets, outduelling Noah Syndergaard for the win. He spun six innings of one-run ball striking out five batters without issuing a single free pass. The right-hander made two more starts before landing on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He returned a month later, and after two more starts, he was placed back on the DL with more inflammation. This injury disappointingly marked the end of his short season.

Although it was a short sample size in the majors, the tall hurler carried over a lot of qualities that made him successful in the minor leagues. He had satisfactory strikeout and walk numbers for a youngster. His K/9 finished at 7.36, and his BB/9 sat at 2.45, both a bit below his minor league norms, but he still proved big league players couldn't completely overpower him. His ground-ball rate, however, climbed up to a 1.85 GB/FB, a number worth salivating over in the fly ball-dominated league.

Soroka had a setback early in spring training after experiencing discomfort in his previously injured shoulder. The Braves will err on the side of caution with their prized prospect, so it's unlikely he'll break camp on the major league club. With an inevitable call-up during the season, he’ll provide significant value to your team whenever he does take the hill. The elite walk and ground-ball rates should translate to the majors, and the strikeouts will presumably boost with more growth and with the league continuing in the direction of low-contact free swingers. At an ADP of 300, it's a high upside pick especially given the lack of promising ability this late in drafts.

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