It was a tough week for former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz. On Monday, he was DFA’d by the Braves after showing a sharp slowdown in his speed for the second consecutive season, resulting in porous back-to-back outings against the Marlins and Rays. And yesterday, he was declared for Gwinnett because none of the other 29 teams asked him about waivers. This only shows how much he has lost in a matter of months.
Even after a bad start to 2019, Foltynewicz managed to recover and became the best Braves pitcher in the range, eventually leading him to a winning start — taking Game 5 all against the St. Louis Cardinals. We don’t have to re-prepare what happened in that game, but Folty still had the start-top-of-the-rotation stuff. This has not been the case so far in 2020.
Folty’s speed is slowing down five full miles per hour from last year and above seven miles per hour from 2018, leading many people (including myself) to wonder if there are any underlying problem. However, yesterday on the MLB Network High Heat, Alex Anthopoulos was clear when he said Folty went back to a healthy and fit form after a long dismissal, the stuff wasn’t there. And for a pitcher who has always been a “boy,” there’s no way for him to find much success if he can’t correct that.
#Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed DFA’s decision to Mike Foltynewicz with @MadDogUnleashed on #HighHeat. pic.twitter.com/AaEpVXaZ4j
– MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 30, 2020
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The Braves are leaving the door open for a potential return. Foltynewicz will work with the taxi squad in Guinnett, and if he can show a sustained increase in speed, the Braves will likely give him another shot. After all, they don’t have many other promising options in their rotation behind Mike Soroka and Max Fried.
One way that may be possible for a Folty is if he gains a little weight.
Even though Anthopoulos said on the MLB Network that Folty came back to camp in good shape, it was strongly evident that he was more shaved than he had been over the years. After being confirmed to Gwinnett, Foltynewicz acknowledged the concern and allegedly told Brian Snitker that he was already working on it in hopes of leading to an increase in speed.
#Braves Snitker says the team hopes to put some weight on Folty through a diet and training plan. Snitker thinks he can get his speed back if he builds it back from the right way.
– 92.9 The Game (@ 929TheGame) July 30, 2020
It won’t be an easy road back to Folty, and I don’t expect him to return to Atlanta any time soon. However, as long as there are no underlying issues, there is a chance he could resolve things in Guinnett. Foltynewicz managed to make it this past year and returned as the Braves ’top pitcher. It will be a little more demanding to do this season as there is no minor league season, but through bullpen sessions and live action practices, coaches will be able to tell if his things are back. form. For the sake of the Braves, who are desperate for help in the rotation, let’s hope Folty can turn it around quickly.
Photo: David J. Griffin / Sportswire Icon