MLB Canadian Roundup: Calgary’s Mike Soroka dazzles at All-Star Game

Watch as Hazel Mae speaks with Mike Soroka after he became the 21st-ever Canadian to participate in the MLB All-Star Game.

All-star Canadians, great relief pitching and some regressing. In the fourth instalment of a monthly series, we check in on the Canadians across Major League Baseball, starting in Atlanta…

Mike Soroka, Calgary
The dream rookie season continued for Soroka at the MLB all-star game.

He came on in the sixth to pitch a scoreless inning of relief for the National League as the world got to see what kind of skill the Albertan has showed this year.

Soroka became the first Braves rookie to make the NL all-star roster since Craig Kimbrel in 2011.

In 15 starts so far this year, the 21-year-old has a 10-1 record with a 2.24 earned-run average and 1.05 WHIP.

Joey Votto, Toronto
The Reds may be a miserable 42-48 and last in the NL Central, but Votto is trying to have fun:

Cincinnati’s first baseman is continuing his solid approach at the plate and finished June with a .299 average. Votto’s power numbers aren’t quite what they used to be, but he’s still on pace to eclipse last season’s 12 dingers.

Russell Martin, Montreal
Try finding a better position player turned mop-up relief pitcher in the majors this season than Martin.

The 36-year-old may not be putting up flashy numbers at the plate, but he’s certainly helping his team out on the mound when needed. The latest example was on June 26 in Arizona when he threw a scoreless inning of relief — his second time doing so this season.

And he had a strikeout!

Josh Naylor, Mississauga, Ont.
Naylor’s bat has cooled down in a big way since our last edition.

He hasn’t homered since early June and save for an RBI double on none other than Canada Day, Naylor hasn’t showed much pop. His average has also slipped down to .237 for the season.

A 3-for-4 game on Sunday with an RBI should help his confidence.

Cal Quantrill, Port Hope, Ont.
Quantrill didn’t inspire much confidence for manager Andy Green with his July 3 start.

After four-straight relief appearances, Quantrill finally got a start against the Giants and didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He gave up two home runs, three earned runs and five hits for San Diego in a no-decision.

With the exception of his first two starts and his one on Sunday, Quantrill has allowed a long ball in each of his starts this year. He showed signs of improvement Sunday in a matchup featuring plenty of Canadiana.

James Paxton, Ladner, B.C.
July has started on a positive note for the southpaw, especially his last start before the all-star break where he racked up 11 strikeouts over six innings against the Rays despite taking the loss.

Paxton allowed just two earned runs in that start and gave up one run against the Mets on July 2.

After an up and down first half, Paxton could be a useful asset as a race for the post-season begins.

Jordan Romano, Markham, Ont.
Romano appeared in two mid-June games where he went 1.2 innings in each before being demoted to triple-A Buffalo on June 23.

He allowed a home run in each of the two relief appearances and three earned runs.

Nick Pivetta, Victoria
After Pivetta’s remarkable return from the minors — featured in our last Canadian roundup — it’s been a completely different story ever since.

In four starts, the right-hander hasn’t made it past the sixth inning while allowing six, four, five and three runs, respectively, in those starts.

His trend of allowing home runs is also concerning as he’s given up two apiece in each of the last three games except for Friday’s start.

With Philadelphia in a fight for one of two National League wild-card spots, the Phillies will need some more consistent starts from the back end of their rotation.

Tyler O’Neill, Burnaby, B.C.
A sizzling June at triple-A Memphis earned O’Neill a promotion to the Cardinals with Marcell Ozuna on the 10-day IL.

O’Neill had homered in three of his last six games in triple-A before the recall which makes this idea from his former class-A team that much more awesome.

The outfielder has appeared in 10 games for St. Louis since coming back and had a monster weekend featuring one home run and five RBI.

IN THE MINORS

Jake Sanford, Dartmouth, N.S.
The Yankees picked Sanford, a six-foot-two centre fielder, in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

He has since reported to Class A Staten Island where he’s gone 16-for-68 (.235) with four doubles, two triples and three RBI.

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