Right-hander Mike Soroka, with the Atlanta Braves, won the Tip O’Neill Award as Canadian baseball player of the year in a Dec. 4, 2019 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Calgary’s Mike Soroka named top Canadian baseball player in 2019

ST. MARYS, Ont. — Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Soroka has won the Tip O’Neill Award as Canadian baseball player of the year.

The award, presented annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, is in the hands of a pitcher for the second year in a row after James Paxton claimed the honour in 2018.

The Calgary-born Soroka finished second in National League rookie of the year voting and sixth in Cy Young voting. Soroka was 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA, striking out 142 in 29 starts for the NL East-winning Braves this year.

Soroka was strong in his lone post-season start, limiting the St. Louis Cardinals to one run on two hits while striking out seven in seven innings.

A first-round pick in 2015, Soroka made his major-league debut late last year before breaking camp with the Braves this year.

“When I had been told I would be the recipient of the 2019 Tip O’Neill Award, it really did put me back in a sense of awe,” Soroka said in a statement. “Having had the opportunity to grow up through the Canadian baseball program, I have always felt a sense of pride when there are Canadians excelling in this game. I am always sure to mention to anyone watching other games in the clubhouse when a Canadian is at the plate or on the mound.

“I am beyond humbled to have the honour of sharing this award with some of the greats of not just Canadian baseball, but Major League Baseball period. This sense of pride has stemmed from others who represented Canadian baseball so well before me, and is something I hope to carry on as well.”

The Tip O’Neill Award is named after Woodstock, Ont., native James “Tip” O’Neill, who was one of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate stars

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2019.

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