Whether or not Mike Foltynewicz has gotten his due on this website is not the point of this post. Just like every other prospect, there are certain aspects of Folty's game that the TCB staff loves and there certainly things the young righty can work on too. Just like Carlos Correa can improve his ability to hit left-handed pitching, Folty can improve his command. And just like Domingo Santana can make more contact, Folty can improve his offspeed stuff.
The profile of Folty's development, great hard stuff and continually developing offspeed offerings, sounds a lot like a pitcher who went through much of the same things Foltynewicz is dealing with right now.
Jarred Cosart's first taste of the big leagues were memorable. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on his way to a 1.95 ERA in 60 innings.
Here's Cosart's numbers with AAA OKC before he was promoted: 93 innings, 10.7 K-BB%, .276 BABIP, 3.29 ERA , and a 3.98 FIP.
And Foltynewicz current stats with the Redhawks: 62.1 innings, 14.3 K-BB%, .284 BABIP, 3.32 ERA and a 3.86 FIP.
Pretty darn similar, huh?
Both will likely keep a BABIP below .300 because they don't live in the strike zone while also throw very hard. As you can see, Folty is doing an even better job of striking out batters while preventing free passes (63 K and 27 BB to be exact). The 90 inning mark that Cosart reached in '13 is a reasonable one for Folty to arrive at before a promotion is seriously discussed, especially since Foltynewicz is two years younger. As long as Folty keeps up the pace he's at, or even betters his numbers as he did from April to May, then he will continue to beat down the door separating him from the The Show.
One problem: that door is a heck of a lot harder to knock down this year compared to when Cosart broke through last year. The Astros' starting rotation has been incredible. Over the last 30 days the Astros have matched their ERA and FIP at 3.25 with a 11.7 K-BB%. Opposing teams are hitting just .241 against Houston starters over the last month.
By performance standards only, Folty isn't taking the spot of anyone named Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock or Cosart. When you consider that Scott Feldman had a 7.36 ERA before his start last night, the statistical accomplishments of the Astros' starters lately are all the more impressive. And now Feldman, at least last night, looks like he's right again. Even Feldman would continue to get rocked for awhile, it would still be hard to believe the guy Houston committed 3-years, $30 million to is coming out of the rotation.
Plus, if anything happened to Scott Feldman, injury-wise or removal for performance reasons, Brett Oberholtzer and his career 3.65 FIP would have something to say about the empty rotation spot.
There are plenty of people who say Foltynewicz he doesn't have the arsenal to be a starter and will likely end up in the bullpen. But there aren't many people who can disagree with the fact that he has deserved the shot to start with the numbers he's posted on the way up through the Astros system.
BUT, another but, what if the Astros keep playing like they are and find themselves in a chase for the wild card? Well, we'll cross that bridge if we get there.