Mike Foltynewicz takes the mound tonight, his second start since his demotion. He was awful in his first start, and there’s been some chatter that he may not be the hardest of workers. I’m still bullish on Folty, who one month ago today, hurled a gem against Milwaukee, allowing one run, three hits and one walk in 7-2/3 innings, with 8 strikeouts. He’ll be back.
Whether he beats teammate Manny Banuelos to Atlanta is another question. The former Yankee prospect is coming off a complete game, two-hit shutout, dropping his ERA to 2.03. He’s still got some command issues, walking 34 in 79 IP, and the Braves are going to keep him on an innings limit, so when he does get the call don’t be surprised to see him working out of the ‘pen. But he’s a safe bet for the 2016 rotation.
Mallex Smith joins Folty and Banuelos at Gwinnett tonight after tearing up Double-A: 340 BA, .418 OBP, .830 OPS, 23 SB. Peter Gammons recently quoted one scout who compared Mallex to Kenny Lofton (hopefully not the Lofton who played one season in Atlanta).
Braxton Davidson may not be a bust after all. Last year’s top draft pick has been raking at Rome, lifting his BA to .271. The power’s starting to come, too (6 HR, 11 doubles) and his eye remains sharp (48 walks). And he’s just 19.
Rome teammate Max Povse, chosen in the third round in the 2014 draft, has been a stud, with a 1.106 WHIP and 2.56 ERA. The 6’8 right-hander has struck out 50 in 59 IP. Southpaw Ricardo Sanchez, the 18-year-old acquired from the Angels, has been much better of late. Rome’s rotation just got better with the acquisition of Touki Toussaint, set to make his Braves debut.
Others of note:
Ozhaino Albies continues to rake: .322-.376-.407. Jose Peraza is flirting with .300 again, but his OBP remains too low (.327).