Jul 27, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (26) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after a rough outing against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves.

Foltynewicz gave up six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, with three home runs and four walks playing a huge part in that.

And the more concerning thing came with his velocity, with his fastball averaging only 89 mph and topping out at 92. His four-seam fastball averaged 90.9 mph, compared to 94.8 mph in 2019 and 96.3 in 2018.

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker explained that the organization hasn’t seen “enough increase in the velocity” and “the stuff hasn’t been there” for Foltynewicz. Snitker added that he’s not sure if the velocity drop is health related.

But it’s still surprising to see the Braves give up on Foltynewicz so quickly.

As the data above shows, Foltynewicz had excellent velocity for a starting pitcher not long ago. He was selected to the All-Star Game in 2018, a season in which he had a 2.85 ERA, 3.37 FIP, and was worth 4.0 WAR (according to Baseball Reference) in 183 innings pitched.

In 2019, he had first-half struggles and made 10 starts in Triple-A, but returned to the majors to put together a 2.65 ERA in 57 2/3 second-half innings. He even pitched in two games for the Braves in the 2019 NLDS.

There are surely many teams that would be glad to take a chance on Foltynewicz, bring him into their program, and see if they can get unlock his previous stuff. It will be interesting to see where he lands.

Update: Mike Foltynewicz cleared waivers, and was sent outright to the Braves’ alternate training site on Thursday.

It’s a bit surprising that no team wanted to claim Foltynewicz, who was owed roughly $2.3 million in prorated salary for the rest of the 2020 season. But, it says a lot about how concerned teams must be about his velocity.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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