Mike Soroka had another terrific start, going seven strong innings, giving up only three hits and no earned runs (2 runs scored in the second due to errors by Swanson and Donaldson). Ozzie Albies had the big blow on offense, hitting the go ahead grand slam in the top of the sixth. And Ronald Acuña went 4 for 4.
Each of these players was born in 1997. Soroka is as good a 21 year old pitcher as the Braves have ever had. I know he’s had shoulder problems, and you can’t really count on pitching prospects, but he is an absolute delight to watch. He throws strikes, his stuff is outstanding, and he really knows what he is doing on the mound. I’m looking forward to watching him for many years to come. Ozzie Albies is as good a 22 year old player as the Atlanta Braves have ever had—at least until Acuña has his next birthday. I know he’s not as strong hitting left handed, but he’s coming around; today’s slam was crushed from the left side. And you know all about RAJ. Players who are good as these guys are at their age have an excellent chance of being perennial all stars.
You know who else was born in 1997? Austin Riley. The AAA third baseman hit his 8th homerun in the last nine games. He’s hitting .514 over that stretch, with 18 rbi’s and 13 runs scored. It looks like we’ll see him sooner rather than later in ATL.
You know who was born in 1998? Ian Anderson. No, not the Jethro Tull guy; the Braves AA pitcher who was the top pick in the draft 3 years ago. He pitched his second consecutive shutout (albeit six innings in each start). He’ll join Soroka and Fried in the rotation next year.
Christian Pache and Drew Waters were also born in 1998. Pache’s the best defensive outfielder in the minor leagues, and he’s slugging .563 at AA, in a notorious pitcher’s park. Waters, his teammate in the outfield, has an OPS of .945. I’m looking forward to watching those guys in SunTrust Park in another year or so, manning the outfield with Ronald.
Of course, they may not all turn into stars at the big league level, but it’s pretty doggone exciting to see so many talented guys all about the same age.
I’m not just focused on the future; I’m counting on Fried, Soroka, Albies, and Acuña, and Freeman, Donaldson, Swanson, and McCann (2 for 4 with 3 ribbies today; his OPS is .910) to lead this year’s team to the pennant. But AA—you still need to do something about the bullpen. Don’t let all this talent go to waste.
Julio on the mound Sunday as the Braves go for the sweep of the Fish.