Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz is worth a flyer

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Mike Foltynewicz #26 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at SunTrust Park on September 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Mike Foltynewicz #26 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at SunTrust Park on September 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

A former MLB All-Star for the Atlanta Braves, Mike Foltynewicz is now a minor league free agent and could be worth a flyer this offseason

Just two years ago, Mike Foltynewicz was an All-Star starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, earning himself Cy Young Award votes after going 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 202 strikeouts across 184 innings pitched.

The former first-round pick of the Houston Astros was averaging more than 96 mph on his four-seam fastball, producing a 37% whiff rate and limiting opponents to a .111 average against with his second-most used pitch, a highly effective slider, and ranked among the league leaders in numbers like expected batting average, ERA, and slugging percentage.

The future looked bright for Foltynewicz, but the 6-4 righty has seen a sharp decline since his All-Star season, culminating in a 2020 season that saw him make one start with the Braves, giving up six earned runs on four hits (three home runs) and four walks in 3.1 brutal innings.

light. More Braves. Braves hoping to bring back Ozuna

Foltynewicz was immediately designated for assignment and never pitched another inning at the major league level, spending the rest of the season at Atlanta’s Alternate Site after clearing waivers and remaining with the organization.

His 5-6 mph dip in his fastball velocity and noted weight loss left Foltynewicz unable to re-join the active roster, even after putting on some weight and seeing a slight increase in his velocity numbers. As Atlanta desperately searched for starting pitching help, they continued to bypass Foltynewicz.

Now, Foltynewicz is one of more than 400 professional baseball players to become minor league free agents, entering an uncertain free agent market and the imminent downsizing of minor league baseball.

But for rebuilding teams looking for cheap pitching help on a minor league deal, Mike Foltynewicz is worth a flyer. Perhaps being bypassed all season proves to be a major red flag for other teams, but teams are always diving into the depths of the free agent market to try and find a steal and there’s a slight chance Foltynewicz could be one of those this winter.

It was just two years ago that he logged more than 200 strikeouts and if he’s healthy entering 2021, maybe he can tap back into what made him a once-promising major league arm.

Looking at teams like the Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles as potential landing spots for the 29-year-old, if Foltynewicz can rebound and become a major league contributor again, that’s great. Each of these teams has a need in their starting rotation and can either make a home for him in their starting rotation for the long-term or flip in a deadline deal.

If he doesn’t pan out, there’s nothing lost in giving him a minor league deal and cutting bait.

Next. Braves interested in Adam Wainwright. dark

Will another organization believe they can help Mike Foltynewicz turn things around and bring him in this offseason? Could the Atlanta Braves look to bring him back on a minor league deal to give him another opportunity? He’s worth a flyer and could quietly end up being a decent offseason acquisition.