Former All-Star Mike Fultinewitz has had a difficult week. On Monday, he was defa’d by the Braves after showing a sharp decline in his speed for the second season in a row, resulting in back-to-back porous excursions against the Marlins and Rays. And yesterday he was outraged to Gwinnett because none of the other 29 teams claimed him on waivers. That just goes to show how far he has fallen in a few months.
Even after an abysmal start to 2019, Foltineviks was able to bounce-back and became the braves best pitcher down the stretch, which eventually led to him starting a winner-take-all game 5 against the st. Louis Cardinals. We do not need to rehash what happened in that game, but Faulty still has the stuff of a top-of-the-rotation starter. This was not the case until 2020.
Faulty’s speed is down a total of five miles per hour from last year and over seven miles per hour from 2018, leading to many people (including myself) to question whether there is some underlying issue. Yesterday on the high heat of MLB Network, Alex Anthopoulos was clear in saying that Faulty returned to camp well and in good shape after the long dismissal, the stuff were just not there. And for a pitcher who has always been a “stuff guy”, there is no way for him to find much success if he can not get the corrected.
#Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed the decision to DFA Mike Foltynewicz with @MadDogUnleashed on #HighHeat. pic.twitter.com/AaEpVXaZ4j
– MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 30, 2020
That’s not to say it’s impossible. The Braves are leaving the door for a potential return. Foltinewick will work with the taxi squad at Gwinnett, and if he can show a sustained increase in speed, the Braves will most likely give him a shot. After all, they do not have many other promising options in their rotation after Mike Soroka and Max Fried.
One way that may be possible for Faulty is if he gains some weight.
Even though Anthopoulos said on MLB Network that Folty was back to fighting in good shape, it is overwhelmingly evident that he was much thinner than he had been over the years. After this as he was outraged to Gwinnett, Foletineviks acknowledged the anxiety and reportedly told Brian Snitker that he was already working on it in hopes that it would lead to an increase in speed.
#Braves Snitker says the team hopes to put some weight on faulty through a diet and training plan. Snitker thinks they can regain his speed if they build him back the right way.
– 92.9 The Game (@ 929 TheGame) July 30, 2020
This will not be an easy way back for Faulty, and I would not expect that he will soon return to Atlanta. However, as long as there are no underlying issues, there is a chance that he could sort the things out in Gwinnett. Foltinewick did this last year and is back as the best pitcher of the Braves. This will be a little more challenging this season since there is no minor league season, but through bullpen sessions and practices of live-action, the coaches can tell if his stuff returns to form. For the brave, who are desperate for help from rotation, let’s hope that Folty can quickly turn it around.
Photo: David J. Griffin / Icon Sportswire