Braves: Alex Anthopoulos comments on Folty and the Braves rotation

dkb180727004 braves vs dodgers

Yesterday, the Braves made the necessary decision of waiving Kevin Gausman after the Reds claimed him, allowing Atlanta to be free of the remainder of his salary. The former Baltimore Oriole turned Atlanta Brave at last year’s trade deadline had been nothing but inconsistent in 2019, and he could not be moved to the bullpen.

The only reliever with an option remaining is Sean Newcomb, and he’s been way too dynamic in his role to be demoted.

Taking Gausman’s place is another estranged starting pitcher – Mike Foltynewicz. Except with Folty, there is legitimate hope throughout the organization that he can help a push towards the World Series. He was indisputably the team’s best pitcher in 2018 and has been lights out in Gwinnett since being demoted.

AAA stats since June 29th:

33 2/3 innings


2.67 ERA

31 Ks

8 BBs

0 home runs allowed


All of those are eye-popping, but the beacon of light is the no home runs allowed. Foltynewicz has been a home run magnet in 2019, conceding a gaudy 16 of them in just 11 starts. For comparison, he only surrendered 17 homers in all of 2018 (31 starts).

The juiced balls have not done our former ace any favors. However, his lack of control and inability to throw the slider as effectively are the primary reasons for his early-season failures. His stats suggest he’s figured something out in Gwinnett, and the Braves believe their most impactful acquisition at the trade deadline might come from within.

Atlanta is optimistic the Folty of old returns tonight in Minnesota, but everyone, especially Alex Anthopoulos, recognizes his AAA stats are meaningless until he proves it again in the majors. The Braves GM stated on Monday that Foltynewicz will be evaluated on a “game-by-game basis,” and he is focused on keeping the best 25 players on the roster.

So if Folty scuffles tonight against the Twins, will he find himself back in Gwinnett next week? I’d say no, but it will not take more than a few starts to see if anything is different. And if he cannot make the necessary adjustments, Atlanta will be forced to fill the final rotation slot with one of their rookie arms.

Could that be Braves top pitching prospect, Ian Anderson, who was recently promoted to AAA Gwinnett? Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged the possibility, saying “anyone who’s throwing a ball will be considered for the MLB rotation” but also said there are players currently on the 40-man roster ahead of him.

Of course, he’s talking about Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson – both of whom have made starts with the Braves this year without much success. Anderson likely won’t be used until September, if at all; however, he will have the chance to force his way up in Gwinnett. If he dominates with the Stripers and Folty sputters, the Braves won’t have much choice but to give him a cup of tea in the majors and see how he reacts.

While seeing Anderson with a Tomohawk across his chest and an “A” on his cap is enough to pique the interest of the entire fan base, the ideal situation is for Foltynewicz to shake off the cobwebs. He has some of the best stuff in baseball and experience that most of the rotation lacks. Folty knows there are only a few more opportunities remaining to prove himself in 2019, so he came to Atlanta with a unique mindset.


Maybe, that puts him in a zone tonight against a potent Twins lineup.


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