The 2019 MLB campaign has breathed a bit of life back into baseball in Canada, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.‘s long-awaited arrival planting a seed in Toronto that the Blue Jays hope will grow into full-fledged stardom.
The two young phenoms faced off twice over the past week, with Guerrero Jr.’s Blue Jays taking the first meeting – Sept. 27 at the Rogers Centre – and Soroka’s club earning a win in his second outing against Toronto, Monday at SunTrust Park.
Soroka joined Ben Ennis and JD Bunkis on Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Good Show Tuesday to share his thoughts on Toronto’s star rookie.
“I actually pitched against him in the Dominican when they were playing with their prospect team,” Soroka told Ennis and Bunkis. “I was down there with Team Canada. And watching him hit BP, he was going back and forth with [Josh] Naylor trying to put on a show. So, right from there you could see that he was different. And having seen what he did all the way up, I mean, that’s not an accident.
“You don’t show up every single day and do what he does without talent that not many people have.”
With that experience in his back pocket, Soroka knew a cautious approach was the best bet against the Blue Jays’ power hitter.
“You need to be a little more careful because he’s a guy that can beat you in all parts of the zone, and he’s a guy that can beat you out of the zone, too,” Soroka said. “So you really have to kind of plan your sequencing a little better, tunnel your pitches a little better, and make sure that you switch things up. Because, you know, you might beat him on one pitch in the first at-bat, but he’s making sure he doesn’t get beat on it a second time.
“That’s what all the great hitters in the game do. They change their approach and they do whatever they can to beat you. So it really is just, kind of, show him everything and go off of what he shows me.”
Listen to Soroka’s full interview with Ennis and Bunkis below, as he discusses his progress in the majors, what he misses most about Canada, and why he’s hoping his Calgary Flames get Matthew Tkachuk’s contract sorted out.