Atlanta Braves fans will always remember the early excitement surrounding Mike Foltynewicz when the team acquired him from Houston in 2015. Atlanta traded Evan Gattis and James Hoyt to the Astros and received Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz, and Andrew Thurman in return.
Foltynewicz or "Folty", would show a lot of promise for the Braves and looked to become a big part of the future rotation for Atlanta. However, it was a rocky road for Mike with the exception of 2018 when he earned an All-Star appearance with a 2.85 ERA over 183 innings.
His ERA over his time in Atlanta landed at 4.30 over 667.1 innings with 232 walks and 641 strikeouts. He was great at getting swings and misses as his 8.6 K/9 rate over that time indicates. Mike's issue stemmed from an inability to control his emotions on the mound and find composure in stressful moments.
He was a max effort pitcher as well and that affected his ability to go deep into games often and pitch consistently well from game to game. Again, 2018 is the anomaly and gave Braves fans hope he'd figure it out.
Unfortunately, after a disastrous performance in Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS (sorry to bring that trauma back), Mike never found sustained success again. The Braves cut ties with him after just one start in the 2020 season.
Mike allowed 6 runs through 3.1 innings and his velocity sat around 93 mph which isn't great when you rely on velocity to succeed. He had averaged around 95 mph on his fastball before that point. So, Atlanta decided they were ready to move on.
The Rangers almost made a horrible mistake
Folty was signed by the Texas Rangers in the Spring of 2021 and to make room on their roster, they designated Adolis Garcia for assignment. Yes, you read that right. The same Adolis Garcia that has propelled the Rangers to a shot at winning the 2023 World Series was DFA'd to make room for a pitcher who may or may not perform well.
Adolis Garcia is one of the most renowned power hitters in the game at the moment as he can hit some majestic homers. He is also the brother of former Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia. Adonis played alongside Folty from 2015-2017.
Adolis Garcia had been traded to the Rangers from the Cardinals for cash after St. Louis DFA'd him. They'd spent 2020 working with him and trying to fix his issues with hitting breaking balls. Clearly, they weren't sure as they flirted with losing Garcia on waivers after signing Foltynewicz to a deal.
No one ended up claiming Adolis, so he remained with the Rangers to the delight of those in the organization who apparently were upset he'd been passed through waivers at all.
Folty went 2-12 in 2021 through 139 innings pitched with a 5.44 ERA. Not the best season and one that basically ended his MLB career. Mike has not pitched in the Majors since 2021 and it's unfortunate to see how his career ended after having so much promise early on.
The fact that the Rangers risked losing Adolis Garcia for one season of Mike Foltynewicz is unfathomable with how important Adolis has been for the Rangers in 2023. Garcia is now a 2-time All-Star and has grown into his power as he hit 39 homers in 2023.
The emergence of a star
He is coming off of such an impressive ALCS performance where he slugged 5 home runs and drove in 15 runs over a 7-game series with the Houston Astros. Garcia was at the center of controversy as he was hit with a pitch in Game 5 following hitting a go-ahead 3-run homer in his previous at-bat.
This caused both benches to clear and led to Garcia accepting the villain role for the remainder of the series. A lot of people thought this incident would fuel the fire for Houston and give them motivation to end things in Game 6. That didn't happen as it seemed to motivate Garcia more.
He hit two homers in Game 7 which was handled easily by the Rangers who took down the Astros 11-4 to head to the World Series. Garcia was 4-for-5 with 2 homers, a stolen base, and 5 RBI. His second homer was a dagger in the hearts of Houston fans as it was the 11th run of the game for Texas. He left his mark on this series and got the last word in.
The Cardinals are likely beside themselves for letting go of Garcia as he's turned out to be a great hitter. Luckily for the Rangers, they didn't lose Garcia after a questionable signing of Mike Foltynewicz and wonder what could have been. Folty and Adolis ended up being teammates in 2021 but only one of them remains.
Baseball is a tough sport and players can take unexpected paths to success or failure. This is a case study for both and how you cannot always predict the future.
A family affair
To answer your question, yes, he is also the brother of former Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia. Adonis played alongside Folty from 2015-2017.
Braves fans may remember Adonis for hitting a clutch walk-off home run in extra innings against the Giants back in 2015. A memorable moment during a rough time in Atlanta Braves history.
Unfortunately for Adonis, his career ended early and he didn't see another MLB season after the 2017 season. He was released by the team before the 2018 season so he could pursue a chance to play in the KBO League in South Korea.
I'm sure Adonis is very proud of his brother considering how far they've both come after the challenges of defecting from Cuba to play professional baseball in the United States and navigating a tough stretch of failure in the sport.
Texas has a great player on their hands and a great person, according to his teammates. I'm sure they will get more iconic moments from Garcia in the World Series.