Mike Foltynewicz
Mike Foltynewicz
27-Year-Old PitcherSP
Atlanta Braves
Injury Elbow
Est. Return 4/19/2019
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Even those who were "one year early" predicting Foltynewicz's breakout had to be impressed with his 2018 campaign, especially in the strikeout department. That said, before thrusting Foltynewicz to near-ace level, note his .251 BABIP was artificially low according to batted-ball and Statcast data. Expect a higher hit rate in 2018 and the corresponding ERA and WHIP correction. There is a chance his 9.1% walk rate could drop a few ticks, and if that happens, it would soften the impact from hit-rate regression. Key to Foltynewicz's success was added velocity across the board, but especially to his slider, making it one of the most effective pitches in the league. He also began throwing his changeup in fastball counts, keeping hitters off balance. Another year removed from 2015 thoracic outlet surgery, health is not currently a concern as Foltynewicz eclipsed 180 frames for the first time. Pursue aggressively, but don't expect a full repeat of 2018. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $5.48 million contract with the Braves in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Resumes mound work
PAtlanta Braves
March 17, 2019
Foltynewicz (elbow) threw a bullpen session Sunday, Kevin McAlpin of 680 The Fan Atlanta reports.
Foltynewicz isn't expected to be ready until mid-to-late April at the earliest, but Sunday's session -- his first off a mound since being shut down with elbow soreness earlier in camp -- is a step in the right direction for the 27-year-old. The right-hander still won't be ready to make a start before the end of Grapefruit League play, leaving him to get up to speed at extended spring training or with a minor-league rehab assignment. With Foltynewicz on the mend, Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Max Fried and Bryse Wilson are battling for Atlanta's final two rotation spots.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .244 964 222 97 207 46 6 31
Since 2016vs Right .241 997 234 65 217 41 5 24
2018vs Left .183 389 107 43 62 13 3 11
2018vs Right .208 355 95 25 68 12 2 6
2017vs Left .308 333 63 33 91 20 1 11
2017vs Right .248 359 80 26 78 17 2 9
2016vs Left .251 242 52 21 54 13 2 9
2016vs Right .273 283 59 14 71 12 1 9
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 3.67 1.22 217.0 13 10 0 9.1 3.4 0.9
Since 2016Away 4.09 1.32 242.1 19 18 0 8.8 3.0 1.3
2018Home 3.19 1.08 96.0 5 4 0 9.8 3.6 0.9
2018Away 2.48 1.08 87.0 8 6 0 10.0 3.1 0.7
2017Home 3.95 1.45 68.1 5 5 0 8.4 3.3 0.8
2017Away 5.46 1.51 85.2 5 8 0 8.3 3.6 1.5
2016Home 4.19 1.17 53.2 3 1 0 8.6 3.2 0.8
2016Away 4.39 1.39 69.2 6 4 0 7.8 2.1 1.7
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Stat Review
How does Mike Foltynewicz compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
96.5 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Just when it seemed like Foltynewicz was headed for a breakout season, he imploded, finishing with a 7.27 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over his final nine starts (43.1 innings). He did a better job of limiting the long ball in the second half (five homers allowed) and he added to his strikeout rate after the All-Star break, but Foltynewicz's walk rate jumped from 3.0 BB/9 to 4.1, and he allowed more hard contact. Foltynewicz struggled against lefties overall, especially at home -- lefty batters slashed .344/.421/.492 against him at SunTrust Park -- and he was far worse the second (5.77 ERA) and third-time through the order (6.10 ERA) than he was the first time through (2.73 ERA). There is still appeal here given his fastball velocity and quality of his secondary stuff, but the home park is a big negative and Foltynewicz's chances at wins will be limited if he can't find a way to work deeper into games.
He should be nicknamed "Mike Filthynewicz" with his repertoire: a mid-90s heater, a piercing slider, a hammer curve and an emerging changeup. He's still figuring it all out, but his 2016 was a nice step forward. He set career-bests in ERA, WHIP, strikeout rate, walk rate, groundball rate and HR/9. It's not a great sign when 4.31 ERA is your best ever, but it's still legitimate progress for the one-time top-100 prospect who was starting to look like a bit of a bust, even in the small 105-inning sample he had prior to 2016. He should enter his age-25 season with a firm handle on a rotation spot, eyeing his first full season and hoping to build on his '16 gains. A baseline 9-10 percent swinging strike rate is a good foundation and the raw stuff portends more. Go an extra $1 on ol' Filthynewicz.
Foltynewicz was beaten out for a rotation spot by Eric Stults in spring training and opened the year at Triple-A Gwinnett. The results in his first four starts for Gwinnett were encouraging (2.08 ERA), and the Braves decided to give him a look after punting on Trevor Cahill less than a month into the season. Foltynewicz did a few things well, but his reliance on the fastball was well scouted and hitters took advantage, making hard contact nearly a third of the time and putting the ball in the air more than 43 percent of the time. That led to a 1.8 HR/9 rate and further questions about his viability as a starter. If moved to the bullpen, Foltynewicz could be a valuable back-end arm given the premium velocity, but the Braves may be inclined to give him one last shot at proving himself as a starter. Everything will ultimately depend on Foltynewicz's health; he was diagnosed with blood clots in his arm late in the year and then had to have part of his rib removed.
Foltynewicz, 23, got a taste of the big leagues late last season, throwing 18.2 innings mostly in low-leverage situations out of the bullpen for the Astros. Execs with the team conceded he may not have been ready for that opportunity, however, as he allowed three home runs while compiling a 5.30 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. It's a small sample size, but the hard-throwing right-hander didn't fare much better at Triple-A Oklahoma City. In 21 appearances (18 starts) with the RedHawks, Foltynewicz went 7-7 with a 5.08 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 102:52 K:BB ratio over 102.2 innings. Traded to Atlanta in January, Foltynewicz was a key piece in the deal that sent Evan Gattis to Atlanta. Armed with a plus fastball that regularly hits 100 mph, "Folty" will need to show better control of his pitches (4.6 BB/9) to carve out a significant role with the Braves in 2015. A return to Triple-A appears likely, at least to open the season, but he has a very high ceiling if his control improves.
Foltynewicz, the Astros' 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, turned in a fine season for Double-A Corpus Christi after a brief stint with Houston's High-A affiliate. The 22-year-old flamethrower appeared in 23 games (16 starts) for the Hooks and went 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA over 103.1 innings. Opposing batters hit a mere .207 against the right-hander, but they also took 52 free passes as Foltynewicz's control problems remained. If he improves his walk rate (4.5 BB/9 in Double-A), Foltynewicz's stock will go up even higher as he emerged as one of the better pitching prospects in the minors last season. He will likely make the jump to Triple-A this season, while the possibility of a late-season callup is not out of the question if he performs well there.
The second time through the Sally League was much better for Foltynewicz than the first: he posted a 14-4 record across 27 starts and lowered his ERA by nearly two runs to 3.14. The improvement was enough to earn him the Most Outstanding Pitcher award in the Sally League and the Minor League Pitcher of the Year award for the Houston organization. The former first-round pick has pitched to contact more in recent years, which has resulted in fewer strikeouts, but (at least last year) better outcomes. While the team is still trying him out as a starter, there are those that think the lack of viable secondary pitches may make him best suited for the bullpen down the line. He will likely begin 2013 in Double-A, still working out of the rotation.
More Fantasy News
Unlikely for first half of April
PAtlanta Braves
March 16, 2019
Foltynewicz (elbow) isn't expected to be ready to rejoin the Atlanta rotation until at least mid-to-late April, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports.
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Ruled out for start of season
PAtlanta Braves
March 11, 2019
Foltynewicz (elbow) has been officially ruled out for Opening Day, 680 The Fan Atlanta reports.
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Not yet throwing off mound
PAtlanta Braves
March 8, 2019
Foltynewicz (elbow) indicated Friday he feels fine but is still limited to playing catch, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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Resumes throwing
PAtlanta Braves
March 5, 2019
Foltynewicz (elbow) will resume throwing Tuesday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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Set to play catch Monday
PAtlanta Braves
March 3, 2019
Foltynewicz (elbow) is expected to resume playing catch Monday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports.
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