Saturday, July 1, 2017


With the Atlanta Braves still in the process of a rebuild and having unveiled a new ballpark that is already one of the most potent home run environments in the game.  The fact the ballpark is an offensive haven thus makes it extra crucial that the Braves uncover some young pitching they can develop and lead a rotation that may be under siege there on a nightly basis due to the home run ball.  One young hurler who may be showing he indeed is capable of such status is 25-year-old righty Mike Foltynewicz who the last time we saw on the mound, was going into the ninth inning Friday night with a no-hitter intact.  While Folty was not able to finish the no-no, he did go eight innings in giving up just four hits and 1 run while striking out 8.  The outing lowered his season ERA to 3.83 which is doubly impressive considering the ballpark.  While Folty was nothing but a late-round speculative pick in most fantasy baseball leagues, he clearly has taken a step forward in his development.  The question now is how much more of a gain can he make and if what Folty is doing now is really indicative of his ability.

Digging into the numbers, there are a few things which need to be addressed.  The first is that Foltynewicz continues to struggle with control which has been a career-long struggle of his since becoming a pro.  Right now Folty's 3.10 BB/9 is simply too high and the problem there is that he doesn't have the strikeout ability to overcome a high amount of free passes.  His 7.86 K/9 rate is the definition of mediocre and is down from the 8.10 last season and takes shine off of the ERA a bit.  Even more disturbing and troublesome is Folty's 1.45 HR.9 rate which is very high and a major problem given his home ballpark's tendency to see balls go out.  As a result of all this, Folty's 3.83 ERA is too low given the advanced rates.  We can see this in the adjusted ERA's as Folty's FIP is 4.66 and his XFIP 4.58.  That shows you that Foltynewicz has pitched above his true ability as far as ERA goes and in actuality, he looks like he could blow up at a moment's notice.  Those who own stock in Foltynewicz need to be aware of the trouble that lies ahead and thus be prepared to cut bait when the runs begin the flow.  A bit of a mirage is at work.

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