Michael Gary Foltynewicz
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 200 lb.
- High School Minooka Community High School
- Debut August 2, 2014
Mike Foltynewicz was the first high schooler picked from a Midwestern school in the 2010 amateur draft. The right-hander was chosen 19th overall, going to the Houston Astros. He was signed by scout Troy Hoerner for $1.305 million and made his pro debut on June 26th for the Greeneville Astros with a scoreless inning against the Johnson City Cardinals. In 12 starts that first season, he was 0-3, 4.03 but pitched only 44 2/3 innings. He then spent the next two seasons with the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League. 2011 was not so great, as he was 5-11, 4.97 in 26 starts, logging 134 innings. In 2012, however, he had an excellent season, with a record of 14-4, 3.14 in his 27 starts. He continued to do well in 2013, as he moved quickly through advanced Class A to spend the bulk of the season in AA. With the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League, he was 1-0, 3.81 in 7 games, while with the Corpus Christi Hooks in the Texas League, he went 5-3, 2.87 in 23 games. Overall that year, he pitched 30 times, including 20 starts, with a record of 6-3, 3.06. He had 124 strikeouts in 129 1/3 innings.
Foltynewicz reached the major leagues for the first time on August 2, 2014, when he pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief for the Astros against the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent the rest of the season in the majors, making 16 appearances out of the bullpen. His only decision was a loss, which came on September 8th against the Seattle Mariners. He put up an ERA of 5.30 in 18 2/3 innings. He had spent the first four months of the season with the AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks, going 7-7, 5.08 in 21 games, including 18 starts. He was in line for a starting job in the Astros' rotation in 2015, until January 14th, when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with P Andrew Thurman and 3B Rio Ruiz in return for C Evan Gattis and P James Hoyt.
He recorded his first major league win in his debut for the Braves, which came on May 1, 2015 after having spent the first month of the season in the minors. He defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, pitching five innings and also driving in 2 runs with his first career hit, a double off Anthony DeSclafani in the 4th inning after having given up three runs in the top of the frame. On September 21st, he had surgery to remove part of a rib, as it was blocking a nerve and causing blood clots in his pitching arm. It was a potentially life-threatening condition had it gone undiagnosed longer, as the blood clots could have led to a stroke. When his season ended, he was 4-6, 5.71 in 18 games, including 15 starts, his last appearance coming on August 25th. Alex Cobb had undergone a similar operation a couple of years earlier.
The operation was successful, but it caused him to lose 20 pounds and the recovery put him a couple of weeks behind schedule for the start of the 2016 season as the need to take blood thinners in the wake of the surgery prevented him from exercising at full strength. He was one of the more consistent pitchers for the Braves that season, going 9-5, 4.31 in 22 starts. He missed all of April and almost all of June, but when he was able to take his turn on the mound, he was very solid, and by going 6-1 from July 27th onwards, he was one of the players that gave the Braves a solid second half after a dreadful start to the year. He was back in the starting rotation at the start of 2017 and on June 30th, he came close to pitching a no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics, not allowing his first hit until Matt Olson led off the 9th with a homer. It was the first time he had pitched in the 9th inning in a game he had started; Jim Johnson took over after the homer and completed the 3-1 win, allowing another hit.
- Mark Bowman: "Foltynewicz patient in recovery from blood clot: Braves righty may begin season on DL after dealing with life-threatening issue", mlb.com, February 1, 2016.