It’s been a tough week for former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz. On Monday, he was the Braves’ DFA’d after showing a sharp drop in speed for the second straight season, and caused porous outings in the back against the Marlins and Rays. Yesterday, he was wronged by Gwinnett because none of the other 29 teams demanded his resignation. This only shows how far it has fallen in a matter of months.
Even after an abysmal start to 2019, Foltynewicz managed to bounce back and became the Braves ’best pitcher in the final part, which led to him starting in Game 5 of the winners against the Cardinals of Sant Lluís. We don’t have to recast what happened in this game, but Folty still had everything he started with. This has not been the case until 2020.
Folty’s speed is five miles per hour from last year and more than seven miles per hour since 2018, prompting many people (including myself) to wonder if there is any underlying problem. However, yesterday in the hot heat of MLB Network, Alex Anthopoulos was clear that he said Folty was back in camp healthy and in good shape after the long dismissal, all that was not there. And for a pitcher that has always been a “kind of thing,” there’s no way to find much success if you can’t correct it.
#Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed the decision at DFA Mike Foltynewicz with @MadDogUnleashed on #HighHeat. pic.twitter.com/AaEpVXaZ4j
– MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 30, 2020
That’s not to say it’s impossible. The Braves leave the door open for a possible return. Foltynewicz will work with Gwinnett’s taxi squad, and if he can show a sustained increase in speed, the Braves will give him another shot. After all, they don’t have many other promising options in their rotation after Mike Soroka and Max Fried.
One way that may be possible for Folty is if he gains some weight.
While Anthopoulos told MLB Network that Folty returned to camp in good shape, it turned out to be overwhelmingly much more flashy than it has been over the years. After he was cleared to Gwinnett, Foltynewicz acknowledged the concerns and told Brian Snitker he was already working on it, hoping this would lead to an increase in speed.
#Braves Snitker says the team hopes to add weight to Folty through a diet and diet plan. Snitker believes he can regain his speed if they rebuild it the right way.
– 92.9 The Game (@ 929TheGame) July 30, 2020
It won’t be an easy road for Folty and I wouldn’t expect him to return to Atlanta at any point. However, as long as there are no underlying issues, there is the possibility of resolving things at Gwinnett. Foltynewicz was able to do so last year and returned as the Braves ’best pitcher. It will be a little harder to do this season as there is no minor league season, but through bullpen sessions and live action practices, coaches will be able to know if their things are re-forming. For the benefit of the Braves, who are desperate to help with the rotation, hopefully Folty can turn it around quickly.
Photo: David J. Griffin / Icon Sportswire