2. Michael Soroka
We all had so much hope for Michael Soroka prior to this season. Obviously, we had premature optimism. It wasn't fair to have the sort of expectations we had on Soroka this spring. We were hopeful that Soroka could return to his ace-like form from 2019, but the guy has been through an awful lot.
Soroka is on the list just based on the fact that we all really want him to succeed. I believe we will and this year was a valuable step in the right direction for Soroka. Mike made his big debut on May 29 and stuck around for another start on June 4. He gave up nine earned runs while walking six over 9.2 innings.
In the month of August, Soroka won the International League Pitcher of the Month for Gwinnett. Optimism was building. The award was announced the same day Soroka was called up to make a start on September 5th against the Cardinals. On the heels of the fantastic month of August, our optimism ran too high once again.
Soroka allowed five earned runs and left the game after three innings with numbness in his fingers. The game marked the end of Soroka's season due to inflammation. While there are plenty of reasons for optimism in 2024, there's no doubt everyone was disappointed we didn't get to see prime Soroka return to the mound. The disappointment comes from love.