680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Following another disappointing outing in Monday’s series opener in Tampa, the Braves have designated Mike Foltynewicz for assignment. Brian Snitker started his post game media session with the surprising news that the former 2018 All-Star was being removed from the rotation. Foltynewicz allowed six earned over 3.1 innings pitched, with three of the four hits allowed landing in the empty outfield seats at Tropicana Field. There had been red flags watching Folty’s final Summer Camp tune up last week against the Marlins, as his fastball velocity had fallen to the 89-91 range. Just two years ago, his four seamer averaged 96.4 mph. Now, the question becomes, where do the Braves go from here? The third, fourth and fifth spots in the Atlanta rotation have been a topic of much debate entering the 2020 season. But now with Foltynewicz out of the mix, Cole Hamels injured and Felix Hernandez opting out, it will be interesting to see how the club handles that spot in the rotation.
Last week, the team signed veteran righty Jhoulys Chacin, who pitched well in relief of Sean Newcomb on Sunday. Josh Tomlin is also back with the club after filling such a big role out of the pen in 2019. And let’s not forget about Touki Toussaint, who revamped his delivery and had a strong Summer Camp. Then, there’s the youngsters in top pitching prospect Ian Anderson and southpaw Tucker Davidson, who could get an opportunity. And one last option, the possibility of going with an “opener” with the universal DH providing that ability this year. If I had to guess, my prediction is that Jhyouls Chacin will be called upon in five days to fill Folty’s spot.
The rotation has always been the biggest question mark with this 2020 Braves bunch. Now it comes under even more scrutiny with short outings from Newcomb on Sunday and Folty on Monday. As for what’s next for Foltynewicz? There’s certainly the chance the team could work out a trade, given how affordable his salary looks compared to other starters in the game these days. Brian Snitker also said afterwards that he could also be retained, sent to the camp at Gwinnett and given a chance to work his way back. Regardless, with only 56 games remaining in this sprint to the finish line, it’s abundantly clear that teams simply can’t afford to wait around for guys to figure things out with starters only getting a max of 12 outings over the next two months.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.