Atlanta Braves Top 3 to Crack MLB’s ‘Top 100 Right Now’ in 2021

Atlanta Braves (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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ATLANTA, GA – JULY 10: Members (L-R Freddie Freeman #5, Nick Markakis #22, Ozzie Albies #1, and Mike Foltynewicz #26)of the Atlanta Braves that made the MLB All-Star Game (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Mike Foltynewicz

Heading into last season it appeared that Mike Foltynewicz would put an end to Julio Teheran’s reign as the Opening Day starter.

Folty was rolling off the back of his incredible 2018 season in which he made the All-Star game and finished eighth in the National League’s Cy Young Award voting.

Unfortunately, for Mike and for Braves’ fans, Folty suffered from elbow issues in camp that would keep him out of action for most of April.

Teheran was able to tie Warren Spahn’s franchise record for most consecutive Opening Day starts at six.

Upon his much-anticipated return, it didn’t take long for everyone to realize that this wasn’t the same Cy Young contender from 2018.

The expectations gradually begin to trickle down for Folty from burgeoning ACE to “Gee, I hope he makes through four innings tonight.”

We found ourselves merely hoping his fastball would return to form, rather than expecting him to be a dominant force.

After an outing against the Washington Nationals on June 22, in which he lasted just four innings and gave up 8 earned runs, the Braves had seen enough. Folty and his 6.37 ERA were sent down to the minors.

As the season wore on, he got his arm up to speed. In August he found himself back in the Bigs and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief when he finished the month with a 3.90 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched. “Okay, now he’s on the right track.”

In September, he was the pitcher on the verge of ace-hood again. He finished the month with a 1.50 ERA including two straight outings down the stretch in which only allowed one run.

Those were almost as good as the three September outings in which he gave up zero earned runs. Folty was back!

The Hope

When your name is in the conversation as one of the top pitchers in the game, as Folty’s was in 2018, breaking into the Top 100 is logical.

It may not feel like he belongs right now, coming off of a tough season and a postseason blow-up of epic proportions, but he’s shown he has it in him.

If he’s healthy and ready to roll this Spring, Foltynewicz could find his name back in the conversation among the game’s best.