This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
Weren't we just enjoying Spring Training a few days ago? I will have to say that 2019 gave us even more surprises than usual, maybe a few more cases of heartburn as well. Injuries opened so many doors that might have otherwise never materialized. Fantasy baseball in general, and the pitching aspects of the game continue to rapidly evolve – or digress, depending on your perspective. Roster management is still becoming more and more of a challenge. "Openers" and "bulk relievers" have had a huge impact – making quality starts far more difficult to accumulate and innings more unpredictable. As much as I hate to admit it, that philosophy appears to be here to stay, and a 26th roster spot next season could be another boost to bullpen depth. Still, there are always standouts.That said, let's get to my list of the 2019 award winners:
Newcomer Award – Mike Soroka: Certainly several pitchers were considered for this award, but Soroka stands out as a shining light for the playoff bound Braves. He has compiled a 12-4 record with a 2.57 ERA and an even more impressive 1.09 WHIP over 164 innings. His modest strikeout total of 130 is perhaps the only soft spot in his game right now. Soroka pitches with supreme confidence and command of his full repertoire, a devastating combination for opposing batters to deal with. If he needs more to stake his claim, consider that he went eight starts from mid-July to late-August without recording a