The Atlanta Braves stunned MLB on Monday when they designated pitcher Mike Foltynewicz for assignment following his shaky season debut, but Atlanta’s loss could be the White Sox gain. The former top prospect was shellacked in 3.1 innings of work, surrendering six earned runs on four hits. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that he had zero command of his pitches. He consistently fell behind in the count on his way to walking four batters. Not only that, but his fastball velocity was down to 89 MPH, a far cry from his normal 95 mph tempo.
Foltynewicz has been a shell of his former self over the past year-and-a-half. If not for the his encouraging finish to the 2019 season, his 4.54 ERA and 1.248 WHIP would have been a lot worse. It’s long been theorized that he could use a fresh start somewhere else, and this provides that exact opportunity.
The 28-year-old still flaunts a ton of potential, so he can expect to have a number of suitors. If the Chicago White Sox were smart, they would be chomping at the bit to sign him.
The White Sox’ Rotation Has Struggled Thus far
Chicago struggled to keep the Minnesota Twins off the scoreboard in the opening series. The club surrendered a grand total of 27 runs, including 24 in their two losses.
Spring Training 2.0 began with the news that Michael Kopech would be opting out of the 2020 season. In another hit to the Sox’ pitching depth, Reynaldo Lopez looked terrible before leaving his first start with an injury. Shortly thereafter, he was placed on the 10-day injured list with shoulder soreness.
Somehow, offseason signing Gio Gonzalez looked worse than Lopez after coming in relief for him. The veteran lefty conceded six runs on seven hits in just 3.2 innings. As if things couldn’t get worse for Chicago’s rotation, projected ace Lucas Giolito was smacked around for seven earned runs on Opening Day.
The White Sox Need Another Pitcher
The point we’re getting to, is that the White Sox have literally nothing to lose in signing Folty. Not only is he a local kid — he was born in Sterling, Illinois — but a change of scenery could do wonders for his career. The right-hander is just one season removed from being named All-Star in 2018. That year, he finished 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA, 202 strikeouts and a 1.082 WHIP.
Though 2019 was a season to forget for Foltynewicz, his last 10 starts were extremely promising. During that span, he registered a 2.65 ERA, allowing just 45 hits and 17 walks. If he can channel that consistency over a full season, the White Sox would make out like bandits if they were to sign him. The early woes of their rotation coupled with their glaring lack of depth should make this a no-brainer decision. General manager Rick Hahn pressed the issue to bolster the roster all offseason, and that aggressiveness shouldn’t subside three games into the new campaign.
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