Yesterday our in-house scout, IJR, got his first look at a couple of baseball’s hottest pitching prospects: Anthony Kay (NYM) and Mike Soroka (ATL). The game was in the A-Full Season South Atlantic League, as the Columbia Fireflies (Mets) faced off against the Rome Braves (Braves). Here are IJR’s notes from the game:
Anthony Kay (6’0″, 218 – LHP – 23 years old)
Anthony Kay stands a solid 6’0″, the Rome announcers generously suggesting 190 pounds but closer to his listed weight of 218.
Kay throws from the port side, low three quarters, and works quickly. He has more effort in his delivery than you’d like to see in a starter, and his arm angle lends itself to a curveball with more vertical break than horizontal. There were other times he would noticeably slow down his arm when throwing the breaking ball.
While his mechanics lean towards high effort, he also comes across as athletic and would not be surprised to see things smooth out during the season. The flat plane might also be a contributing factor in his 8.44 K rate, seemingly low for A ball bats.
Kay’s change-up bordered on plus and generally kept right-handed bats honest. He ran into trouble in the third, a hanging curve served into right, a fastball the left-handed nine hitter ran into for a two-run shot, an infield hit by Drew Waters (2nd rounder 2017) who promptly stole second, followed by a walk. After nearly escaping the jam, he then hung a curveball to Jean Carlos Encarnacion (24th rated prospect in Braves system) who lobbed it into left for the third run of the inning.
After an uneventful 4th, Kay was chased in the 5th, with two more walks and a long double by Jean Carlos.
Kay has better stuff than his line would suggest, and he looks like he could be a big league pitcher. Command and curveball refinement seem required before feeling comfortable projecting him in a major league rotation.
Mike Soroka (6’5″, 225 – RHP – 20 years old)
Mike Soroka is a 6’5″ right-hander on a brief rehab visit, soon to reclaim his position in the Braves rotation.
Soroka comes straight over the top, getting good downward trajectory on all pitches. He has good (tonight very good) command and does not overextend or overthrow. Everything is done methodically (almost too deliberate) and with purpose. He does everything better than average, but nothing truly exceptional, which in itself though, might add to exceptional results.
He was clearly going to outclass the Fireflies tonight, so it’s hard to take much away from his effort beyond looking healthy and sharp. He was able to locate at will, with sliders under the hands of lefties and hard sinkers away. He ended up getting pulled after eleven hitters, 45 pitches, giving up nothing in the process. He even began the fourth inning from the stretch, just to get a little practice.
Soroka reminds me of Jon Garland, a guy that can pitch like a 2 SP but might settle in closer to mid-rotation. The lack of plus pitches might keep him out of the Top 50, but good command might keep him close. If he continues to strike out one per inning (9.20 before hitting the DL) he could be a really, really good 3 SP.