Welp, it happened. After an abysmal start to 2020, the Braves have (somewhat) surprisingly DFA’d Starting Pitcher Mike Foltynewicz. He lasted just 3-1/3 innings in a 14-5 loss to the Rays on Monday night. This outing included six runs, four hits, and four walks.
Foltynewicz has posted a 4.33 ERA across 118 starts since coming into the league back in 2015. His best season came in 2018 when he made the All-Star team and went 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts. He also finished 8th in the National League Cy Young race.
The issue Foltynewicz has run into, is a severe drop in his fastball velocity. When he debuted back in 2015, his fastball averaged 98.2 mph. In Monday’s outing, his fastball averaged 89.3 mph, and topped out at 92.9 mph. While he has experienced this sharp decline, he was still productive as recently as the second-half of last season. Over his final 10 starts of 2019, Folty went 6-1 with an era of 2.65.
With all of this in mind, here are three reasons why the Phillies need to put in a claim for the former Braves right hander.
3. His Age
While Foltynewicz has been around since 2015, he’s still just 28 years old. Yes, he has seen a decline in velocity, but he’s still a relatively young player and could really benefit from a change of scenery.
If he was a bit older, I would be able to understand if people were hesitant to give him a look. However, there really isn’t any reason to believe he won’t be able to bounce back. The thing is, he doesn’t even have to return to his 2018 form. If he can just be a guy who eats innings and keeps you in the ball game, it’s worth the risk.
2. His Contract
Currently, Mike Foltynewicz is only signed through the remainder of 2020. If the Phillies do claim him, they would be on the hook for the $6.4 million dollars he is owed this season. The team would have Folty under control next season as well, as he has one more season of arbitration eligibility. Foltynewicz is set to hit free agency after the 2021 season concludes.
The extra year of team control is huge in this situation. Not only does it give Folty time to get adjusted to his new situation. But, it would allow the Phillies to give him the time he may need. In a scenario where he does get claimed, I would imagine the Phillies would give him plenty of chances to get comfortable in his new surroundings.
1. He’s Available
This one is too obvious to not include. Mike Foltynewicz is availabl, and considering the state of the Phillies pitching, it feels like a no brainer. The Phillies entered 2020 comfortable with sending Vince Velasquez to the mound every fifth day. After his debut, it makes you wonder if that confidence has wavered at all.
The team was also comfortable entering 2020 with a collection of nobodies in their bullpen. You expect me to believe Foltynewicz wouldn’t have more success then guys like Cole Irvin or Reggie McClain? That is the beauty of this situation. The Phillies could claim Folty and even use him out of the bullpen if they wanted to. He would instantly become the third best reliever on the ball club.
In conclusion, it makes way more sense to kick the tires on a guy like Foltnyewicz than it does not too. Now, we must sit back and wait to see what happens next. Hopefully this time next week, Foltynewicz is donning red pinstripes.
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