Well, that’s all she wrote for Mike Foltynewicz. I would be extremely surprised if we ever see him in an Atlanta uniform again.
Folty was designated for assignment after last night’s game. He was not released and he was not traded, so he will go through the waiver process to see if another team wants him. The Braves will likely try to work a trade to get some salary relief. I can’t imagine there’s much expectation for a talent return.
Folty is just, well, damaged. He doesn’t seem healthy. His fastball is down about 6-8 MPH, and he looks like a skeleton with a beard. Maybe something is going on with him. Maybe a change of scenery will do him well. For me, I’m over it. I’m tired of the Folty saga. Perhaps you will look back on his time in Atlanta and consider him a league average pitcher whom the Braves did not pay much, and that’s probably the right take. In 122 games (118 starts), he leaves with a 4.30 ERA (98 ERA+), 1.32 WHIP, and almost a strikeout an inning.
But it’s hard to separate his overall body of work from the frustrating rollercoaster that became the latter end of his tenure. After beginning his career with a mediocre 3 seasons between ages 23 and 25, it really seemed like Folty turned the corner in 2018. His 2.85 ERA (143 ERA+), 9.9 K/9, two complete games, and ability to make 31 starts made us think that at age 26, he had turned the corner and he was perhaps becoming the ace of the staff.
Well, not so much. The beginning of 2019 brought one of his worst extended stretches as a big leaguer. In 11 starts, he didn’t make quite 5 innings per start and struggled to a 6.37 ERA. After his start on June 22nd, Atlanta sent him down to AAA. He came back 44 days later, and rattled off one of the best stretches of his career: 10 starts with a 2.65 ERA and back to striking out a batter per inning. He was keeping the ball in the ballpark, he looked healthy, and it looked like he was back. Then, in what seemed like a microcosm of his entire career, he pitched a fantastic 7 shutout innings in Game 2 in the Division Series. But before we ever even came to bat in the deciding Game 5, he had given up 7 runs, 6 earned, while getting only one out in the first inning.
We’ll also remember the emotional aspect of the Folty experience. We’ll remember the negative body language on the mound, his constant physical expression of any ball-and-strike call he didn’t agree with, and the constant fear that he would mentally unravel if too many didn’t go his way. I love passion, I love intensity, I love outwards displays of emotion on the baseball field. That’s what makes the game fun. But his emotion is indicative of someone who doesn’t have his head on straight. I hope the Braves can get some cash back on him that they can use to acquire at the deadline. I like the man, but good riddance.