2019 Atlanta Braves Player Reviews: Mike Foltynewicz

I’ve spilled a lot of ink in the comments about Folty, so I’ll try to recap and be concise.

Look, I don’t know who Mike Foltynewicz is, and I don’t know who does. In almost every timespan or environment, the man has been manic, whether it be in the 2018 and 2019 postseason, the 2019 season, the 2018 season, or his career as a whole, good luck pinning this guy down. Let me show my work:

Postseason: 4 GS, 13.1 IP, 11 H, 11 ER, 17 K, 7.43 ERA. He’s good to strike out 11.5 per 9 in the postseason, give up one run or less in two of the starts, but he’s unable to get out of the third in the other two starts.

2018 Season: 183 IP, 130 H, 68 BB, 202 K, 2.85 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 3.9 bWAR

2019 Season: 117 IP, 109 H, 37 BB, 105 K, 4.54 ERA, 4.97 FIP, 0.5 bWAR

Breaking Down the 2019 Season

As we all know, it was two seasons for Folty: BD (Before Demotion) and AD (After Demotion)

Before Demotion: 11 GS, 59.1 IP, 42 ER, 64 H, 20 BB, 17 HR, 50 K, 6.37 ERA

After Demotion: 10 GS, 57.2 IP, 17 ER, 45 H, 17 BB, 7 HR, 55 K, 2.65 ERA

He wasn’t fooling anyone before his demotion, giving up almost a hit per inning and the ball flying out of the ballpark on him too. But when he came back, he was the Folty of old. But while I’ve been pretty harsh with him, aside from Game 5 in the Division Series, he was the Folty you thought you were getting after his 2018 season.

2020 Outlook

First off, I’m not sure what the Braves will do with his arbitration situation. The Braves have already taken him to arbitration once, so you can’t do it to him again, right? Perhaps you can try to do some risk-share with Folty and give him a two year deal where he’s being paid fairly close to if he was the 2018 version of himself. Hey, you’re bound to get a good year in one of the two seasons.

And while I think he’ll expound on his second half success as he goes into 2020, I don’t think it’s wise for Atlanta to count on him to be a member of the front half of a rotation. The 2020 season needs to be about having a little less risk on the 25-man roster while still having as much upside as possible, and I think Folty gives you that if he’s a member of the back half of the rotation. Put it this way: if there are 3 starters ahead of him in the rotation, he’s one of the best 4th starters in all of baseball who has the potential to be a weapon in the postseason.

If not, then the Braves need to be looking to finally put him in the bullpen or trade him. Regardless of how his arbitration will be handled, he’s still a very tradeable asset should the Braves go that route. But like I said, I think he slots into the rotation and continues to work towards being a reliable starting pitcher.

What do you think?

26 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Reviews: Mike Foltynewicz”

  1. I agree with you as he slots into the rotation as a #4 and if he is better it is like found money. We know we have Soroka and Fried ahead of him, but who else? I am afraid the team might be looking at him as a #3 and that could be a scary proposition once again.

  2. I don’t have a problem in a contract to buy out 2 arb years at more or less projections, but would want at least one option, even if high (20 mill maybe). Maybe the option can be one like somebody (can’t remember who) had where if he doesn’t pitch more than 100 innings in either of the first 2 years, then the option kicks in at 10.

    I agree that NOW expecting “Good Folty” (meaning performance wise a performance befitting a 1 to a 4 scattered back and forth and round and round), is not wise. I THOUGHT 2018 would be mostly a consolidation and he might slip some, but not like first half. Maybe the injury was a significant part of that, but this Braves team is too good to “assume” that.

  3. I’m inclined to believe the original injury had a lot to do with his performance in the first half. I thought I read where he said that even when he came (April/May) that he was still tentative and not willing to let loose. That did not get fixed until he went down to AAA.

    Assuming he stays healthy now and has a good Spring, I think we can reasonably expect to see “Good Folty”.

    I also think that he could “pull a Smoltz” and be a great closer, too. That should be more of an option if he has some injury issue again. Smoltz did it to put less strain on his arm while recovering from TJS. Folty could do it too if he has a lesser injury issue.

  4. Congratulations, David Ross.

    Folty is beyond my ken. Keeping him as a 4/5 suits me fine. Trading him as part of a package for a leftfielder with on base skills and pop is okay too. If he realizes his vast potential, I will head his fan club.

    Either/or please. No more both/and. I’m too old and fragile for the drama.

  5. @3
    I have a few inside sources in the Braves FO that told me Folty and his agent was pushing hard for an extension this offseason and Folty was hiding injury to make it happen. This news came to me in November of last year and it made sense. When the 2 sides went to arb, the relationship wasn’t on good terms and Folty was at his worst.

  6. @5 Sounds like a poor negotiating tactic and Folty (and his agent) kinda made their own bed. I wonder if he would have gotten an extension if he were open and honest. May not have been at the price he wanted but might have gotten it done. He’s certainly not in a better position now.

  7. @Rog

    I have to spill the beans a bit. The 2 insiders that I have are both females and what is crazy is they have real ties to the inner workings of the clubhouse and they just talk to me like they’re talking about their friends and it’s quite hilarious and I’m just soaking it up! So there’s some things that I cannot share.

    But here’s another one: Braves thought, at one point, that they were the highest bidder on Bryce Harper at 6/200MM, but that was way early in the offseason.

  8. @7 So there’s proof that the team will offer a multi-year deal depending on age and risk. I wonder how far they’ll go for Gerrit Cole…

  9. Having had some time to put game 5 behind me, I’m in the “I hope they keep Folty as a 4th starter” camp. There are times he sucks, and just doesn’t have it; but some times he also looks like one of the best pitchers in baseball, when everything is on. The up and down maybe keeps him from being a TOR arm, and given his age, that just might be so. When you’ve got a #4 though with a puncher’s chance of pitching like an ace, the rotation ain’t bad off.

  10. @8
    I don’t know specifics on the age in which the Braves are comfortable in giving long deals to free agents, but it was told to me by the same source that 6 was all they’d go. That would’ve made Bryce a free agent right after his 32nd birthday.

  11. @7 That’s really interesting stuff!

    I don’t really fault Folty for trying to hide an injury to get an extension done. Both sides are going to use every ounce of leverage they have in negotiations. Putting myself in Folty’s shoes, I’m not going to pony any ammo up. Hindsight being 20/20, it probably backfired on him, I guess. He made the move he thought best in the moment though.

    The Harper thing is fascinating on a lot of levels. I wonder if they were reading the market right when they thought they were high bid? Them sitting out on Brantley also makes more sense, and maybe it explains the return of Markakis? Do you know how early it was they thought they were high bid, like pre Donaldson signing, or after?

    I’d be really excited if they offered that type of contract after inking Donaldson. I’d think 6yrs and 200 million signs almost anyone this offseason, sans maybe Rendon.

  12. I am not a lawyer. I did negotiate contracts in a prior life and was taught and taught others that to be valid, a contract must have been negotiated in good faith. I witnessed contracts voided and contractors penalized for failure to comply with the Truth in Negotiations Act. That was public sector. Does not the same standard apply to private sector? Can one party wilfully hide defects and the contract be valid?

  13. coop at 12,

    If an item is covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, then it might be excluded. Maybe it excludes screening for STD’s. If that is gonorrhea, then no bid deal. If it is syphillis, maybe a little bigger deal. If it is HIV, potentially a very big deal in terms of impact on a player in living up to a contract of long duration.

    Folty would have probably been “discovered” after the usual physical. I don’t think the Braves were in danger of getting hung. However, he may have declined more aggressive and invasive treatments saying “it’s not that bad.” An arbitrator could then have said “hmm, Dr. Andrews bone spur scope out on 12 / 1. So, will miss at least 2 months of the season. So, availability drops, pay drops.” That maybe why he did it.

    BUT it shows he didn’t do what was best for the team as much as for him. Full disclosure would have let the FO make a better plan.

  14. Great stuff , Ryan. Thanks. That is an excellent trade-off of fewer years for higher AAV. If true, the Braves were very competitive. Although, if they didn’t want to go past age 32, that does not bode well for Donaldson negotiations. I’m also sure Cole or Rendon will want longer contracts, too. Bryce is apparently the anti-Bauer in wanting length over AAV. That is a pretty big difference ($33M vs $25M). I’m not sure I’d want Harper for $33M. That’s a stifling number payroll-wise. I honestly think we could come up with 2 $16M players (or two QO-cost players) which would give us more value than one $33M player.

  15. The Nationals have scored as many runs in G2 of the World Series as the Braves gave up in G5 of the NLDS. Ouch.

  16. With both of my sources
    it’s horses for courses
    one’s in the pen, the other does wages
    then AA himself revealing outrages.

  17. The Party’s over
    it’s time to call it a day
    many tears in the emptying dome
    how could they lose this embarrassing way?
    Soto is King, Bregman can’t field
    said Strasburg to 0 and 6 Verlander(post)
    Yield, man, yield.

  18. Our man Kurt
    it does hurt
    changes the game with one swing
    and then, last night, all that marvelous blocking thing.

    We miss ya! We always keep the wrong guys.

  19. 538’s algorithm has the Nats winning the World Series at an 81% clip.

    The playoffs make no sense. Those guys who two big series versus the Braves in which they could have really made the NL East a race and they couldn’t generate any momentum. Suddenly, they’re murdering everyone in the playoffs.

  20. I think the braves should get rid of mike foltynewicz.he cost us the world series.brian sniket should not have left him in there after 2 or 3 runs.i have followed the braves sinse 1969.i may never watch them again

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