Mike Foltynewicz was not long for this 2020 season, and became a major point of discussion, and not in a good way. Foltynewicz looked visibly thinner, and his velocity was substantially down, sitting around 90-91 MPH. For a guy who has sat mid to upper 90s for his whole career, and has always been a pitcher who relied more on overpowering stuff than command and sequencing, this spelled disaster for the right-hander.
What went right?
Foltynewicz recorded a total of 10 outs in one start for the Braves in 2020. That’s it. There isn’t even really something that went right, given that this is a starting pitcher, but that’s the most positive thing I can say about how his 2020 season went.
What went wrong?
Everything. As I mentioned, Foltynewicz’ velocity took a precipitous drop. He looked physically frail, and this all showed as he got shelled for six earned runs in his only start, which lasted 3 1⁄3 innings and resulted in a loss for Atlanta. Foltynewicz was designated for assignment immediately after the game, and was apparently informed of this move before the game was even over. He went unclaimed through waivers, and was sent to the alternate site, where he would remain for the rest of the season. As if the organization DFAing Foltynewicz after one game wasn’t enough to display their lack of confidence in him, that he was never seen again at the major league level for a team that had one viable starting pitcher for a large part of the season was a further display that this organization had lost all confidence in the pitcher that was once so good.
Outlook for 2021
Since Foltynewicz was dropped from the 40-man roster and never recalled to the major league level, he is no longer arbitration eligible and can be a minor league free agent this offseason if he so chooses. Seeing as the Braves did keep him at the alternate site, he is clearly worth more than nothing to them, but it seems unlikely that both the player and the team would want a reunion. The team clearly has lost patience with him, and with so many young arms in the system, it’s hard to see a path for Foltynewicz to make it back to the majors. He may also not want to stay in an organization that so clearly has lost it’s patience with him. I’m unsure whether a familiar environment or a change of scenery is what’s best for Foltynewicz, but hopefully he gets what he needs to return to what we’ve seen him be. I will say that I think it is possible, but unlikely that Foltynewicz stays with the Braves organization.