TULSA, Okla. — Andrew Sopko’s progression through the minor leagues hit its first speed bump to begin this season. But now the Missoula native appears back on track.
The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Sopko back up to Class AA Tulsa late last week, the same level he pitched at all of last season. Sopko had a strong return to the Drillers on Saturday, giving up only one run over six innings in a 6-2 win at Springfield.
The 23-year-old had moved with an upward trajectory throughout his three years in the minors, but the Dodgers sent him back to Class A Rancho Cucamonga to start the 2018 season. Sopko made 12 starts for the Quakes, compiling a 3-4 record with a 3.22 ERA. The right-handed pitcher also struck out 73 batters in 64 1/3 innings while only walking 14, the best stretch of his pro career since also dominating for the Quakes in 2016.
Sopko recorded a 5-7 record with a 5-7 record and an ERA of 4.13 over 23 starts for Tulsa in 2017. He struck out 74 over 104 2/3 innings and walked 45.
Sopko dominated as a pitcher and outfielder for the Missoula Mavericks from 2009 to 2011, and was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 14th round of the MLB first-year player draft coming out of high school. However, Sopko chose to attend Gonzaga University instead of going pro. After three successful years with the Bulldogs, the Dodgers picked Sopko in the seventh round of the 2015 draft.