After a breakout in 2018, Mike Foltynewicz could simply use a break in 2019.
The former All-Star was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett by the Braves on Sunday after another rough outing Saturday, allowing eight earned runs in a loss to the Nationals. The loss left him with a 6.37 ERA in 11 starts this year after going 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 183 innings of work last year.
“It’s time to push the reset button,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It wasn’t working here. It’s been a struggle all year. Nothing got going for him. He didn’t get in a flow, rhythm, anything like that. Sometimes you have to take a step back.
“I felt like after the game transpired, the time is now. Hopefully we’ll get him down there, he can get on a roll, get his confidence back, get guys out and get back to his old self.”
Foltynewicz already got a late start to the season when he hit the injured list in late March for an elbow problem. It wasn’t deemed a serious issue at first -- initial reports suggested he might only miss a start or two -- but he ended up missing most of the first month of games before returning in late April.
When he did return, he never really looked like the guy who had so much success last year. Saturday’s performance, his shortest start of the year, was the final sign that something more drastic was necessary to get him back on track.
While he works things out in the minors, it’s unclear who will fill in for the first-place Braves in his absence. Sean Newcomb made a spot start last week before going on the injured list, but he appears locked in as a reliever. The Braves have no shortage of options in their system -- guys like Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright and Kolby Allard have major league experience, including both Wilson and Wright having pitched for the Braves this season -- but they may also seek outside help in the form of a rental, given the indefinite nature of Folty’s situation.
It’s not likely to matter this week -- the start Thursday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field isn’t an advisable one for any pitcher, let alone a fill-in -- but it’s worth keeping an eye on for fantasy purposes.
Bradley Makes Debut, And Impact, For Indians
Bradley made his MLB debut Sunday, going 1-for-3 with an RBI ground-rule double and a run scored. Bradley started at first base and batted seventh in his debut.
“It’s just an unreal moment,” Bradley said after Sunday's game. “All the guys congratulating me, and I mean, it still doesn’t feel real to me yet. ... I mean, just to be able to be up here and to be able to get a hit, it means the world to me.”
Bradley’s journey to the majors hasn’t been without its trials. The 23-year-old started popping up on prospect lists ahead of the 2016 season after he smashed 27 homers in 110 games in the minors in 2015.
He hit 29 homers with 102 RBI in 2016 but batted just .235/.344/.466 in 131 games, and after disappointing years in 2017 and 2018 the former third-round pick had fallen back off the prospect radar. His window, once wide open, seemed to be closing.
A good start to 2019, though, changed his fate. Bradley had 24 homers in 67 games for Triple-A Columbus before his promotion -- and, more importantly, he hit .292/.359/.638 in those 67 games.
Bradley has some swing-and-miss to his game and given his struggles at stops in the minors there’s a lot of uncertainty there, but the power upside is undeniable. With how we’ve seen rookies attack major league pitching it’s worth adding Bradley in mixed leagues to see if he can capture some of that Yordan lightning and make his stay a permanent one.
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Kimbrel To Make Cubs Debut This Week?
It may soon be Craig Kimbrel time in Chicago.
The right-hander is slated to make an appearance Tuesday with Triple-A Iowa but that appearance, according to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, might be his last one in the minors. Sharma suggests if the outing goes well Kimbrel could be added to the major league roster as soon as Thursday or Friday.
When he does get activated, whenever that is, it’s hard to keep in mind that it may not immediately coincide with him being installed as the team’s closer. Like with anything, the 31-year-old may need a few appearances to adjust to the jump in competition level.
So fantasy players should continue to hold both Kimbrel and Pedro Strop, who’s been closing games in the absence of a Proven Closer, until the situation sorts itself out.
National League Quick Hits: Mike Soroka (forearm) is expected to make his next scheduled start after X-rays came back negative on Sunday. Soroka was pulled from Sunday's start against the Nationals after he was hit by a pitch on his right forearm. Fortunately, there was no structural damage done. He won't start in Mike Foltynewicz's spot in the rotation on Thursday as had been discussed, but he should be ready to take his regular turn on Friday. … Nationals released RHP Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal has looked completely lost in his first year back from Tommy John surgery with a 22.74 ERA and 5/15 K/BB ratio over 6 1/3 innings covering 12 appearances. His velocity has been fine, so the 29-year-old shouldn't have trouble finding another landing spot, but it's hard to blame the Nats for moving on at this point … Nick Senzel (migraine) was back in the Reds' lineup Sunday. Senzel exited Friday's game and sat out Saturday with a migraine, but it evidently wasn’t a long-term ailment. … Alex Wood (back) is on track to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. Wood has been facing hitters lately and will throw a bullpen session Tuesday at Louisville before returning to game action Thursday. The veteran left-hander has been sidelined all season with a back issue that's caused numerous starts and stops, but it looks like he could join the Reds' rotation relatively soon if he continues to progress. … Brandon Woodruff struck out 12 while allowing three runs over seven innings in Sunday's 7-5 win over the Reds. Woodruff cruised through the first six innings without incident, but a Joey Votto three-run homer in the seventh was a slightly sour ending to an otherwise sweet day. The 12 strikeouts were a career high for the 26-year-old, and it was the third time this season he's notched double-digit strikeouts in a start. Through 94 1/3 innings of work this year, Woodruff has a 4.01 ERA with 114 strikeouts and 25 walks. The Pirates will have their work cut out for them when the two sides meet Saturday. … Javier Baez hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the eighth inning Sunday to lead the Cubs to a 5-3 win over the Mets. Mets reliever Seth Lugo got into a spot of trouble in the eighth, putting a pair of runners on ahead of the dangerous Baez. The shortstop made the Mets pay, lashing a big-time homer to the opposite field to put the Cubs ahead. It was a good time for his 100th career homer, giving him 19 this season to go with 51 RBI, 50 runs scored and four steals. Baez is batting .284/.323/.551 in 76 games to date. … Will Smith delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer to propel the Dodgers to a 6-3 walk-off victory over the division-rival Rockies on Sunday. Smith came off the bench to take Rockies reliever Scott Oberg deep to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was his third career round-tripper and the second of the walk-off variety in his young career. The 24-year-old backstop is trapped in the Dodgers’ log-jam behind veterans Austin Barnes and Russell Martin, but he profiles as an everyday catcher and an extremely valuable fantasy asset in the near future.
American League Quick Hits: Jose Berrios (blister) is slated to remain on his normal schedule and be ready for his next start on Friday against the White Sox. Berrios had to leave Saturday's outing with a blister on his right ring finger, but it sounds like he'll be fine. The righty will throw a bullpen session Tuesday and, assuming that goes well, will take the ball Friday versus the Pale Hose. … Rays placed RHP Diego Castillo on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Castillo has really struggled the last few weeks and now we may know why. It's not clear at this point how long he'll be sidelined. Emilio Pagan is the favorite for saves in the Rays' bullpen for now, although Jose Alvarado is due back soon. … Rafael Devers (hamstring) remained out of the Red Sox' lineup Sunday. Devers hasn't played since tweaking his right hamstring Wednesday. At some point the team would be better off freeing up his roster spot and putting him on the IL for a few days. … Jonathan Schoop (ankle) remained out of the Twins' lineup Sunday. Schoop has now missed two straight starts with a sore right ankle. He should be ready to go Tuesday after Monday's off day. … Tyler Skaggs was terrific in Sunday night's victory over the Cardinals, scattering four hits over five innings of shutout baseball. The left-hander struck out three and didn't walk a batter. He only threw 70 pitches in the ballgame, and could have worked much longer, but he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. Skaggs will look to further improve upon his 4.30 ERA and 1.26 WHIP when he takes on the Athletics at home on Saturday. … Tyler White hit a grand slam in the third inning of Sunday's 9-4 win over the Yankees. White took advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, shooting a J.A. Happ delivery the opposite way to blow the game open in the fourth inning. The homer was just White's third in 55 games this year after he hit 12 in 66 games last year. It's been a disappointing year all around for the 28-year-old after we spent all winter dreaming about a breakout -- through Sunday, White is hitting .229/.342/.355 overall. … J.P. Crawford went 4-for-4 with a solo homer, four RBI and a pair of runs scored to power the Mariners to a 13-3 blowout win over the Orioles on Sunday. Crawford launched a solo homer -- his second round-tripper of the season -- off Orioles starter Gabriel Ynoa in the opening frame. The former top prospect also racked up three singles, including a two-run knock to center field in the third inning, to record the first four-hit performance of his big-league career. He capped off the monster performance with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Simply put, Crawford has been outstanding since coming off the 10-day injured list earlier this month. He’s hitting .333 (13-for-39) with one homer, 11 RBI and one steal in 10 games since June 14. He’s rapidly evolving into a must-own fantasy asset in deeper mixed leagues.