Mike Foltynewicz could be the steal of the Texas Rangers’ offseason

Texas Rangers Foltynewicz

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

After a stellar B-game outing today, Mike Foltynewicz has solidified himself as the potential steal of the offseason for the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers signed Mike Foltynewicz on February 10th, looking for a bounce-back season from the 2018 All-Star.

After being DFA’d after only one start last season, Foltynewicz has come into Rangers’ camp more motivated than ever and has proven he still has ace potential.

In one official start this spring, Folty went two solid innings with one strikeout. He allowed no runs and no hits.

On Saturday, Foltynewicz pitched in his second game, this time against Kansas City’s B-squad.

Foltynewicz went 3.1 innings, allowing only one walk and punching out three Royals’ hitters. He kept exited the game having thrown only 42 pitches, as well.

More interesting, though, was Foltynewicz’s increased velocity in both starts.

Folty’s velocity in the past has sat around 92-93 during the early weeks of spring training, but this spring, he has consistently sat around 95-97 mph.

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Mike Foltynewicz is looking like a steal for the Texas Rangers.

For the Texas Rangers, any increase in velocity takes them back to Foltynewicz’s success in 2018.

Since his All-Star 2018 season, Mike Foltynewicz’s velocity has slightly decreased every season.

Chris Halicke of SI noted that his fastball velocity averaged right around 96 mph in 2018. In 2019, his four-seamer dipped down to 94, and in 2020 sat at a career low of 90 mph.

If this uptick in velocity means Folty can find any of that 2018 success, the Texas Rangers will be in good shape.

A team in desperate need of starting pitching, finding a true former ace in Foltynewicz could help the Rangers in the long run.

The Braves designated Foltynewicz for assignment on July 27th of last season and he was let go following the season’s end, but more importantly, he was let go with three years of control remaining.

Those three years play very well into the Rangers’ future plans, assuming Texas will try to break out of their rebuild in 2022-2023.

Foltynewicz can become a free agent after the 2023 season, and will be a relatively cheap option for Texas if he pitches well.

Assuming the worst for the Texas Rangers, they would not be ready to contend during those two seasons.

If so, a right-handed All-Star caliber pitcher in the midst of his prime would be an appealing option for any team in the pennant race.

Folty could net Texas a nice load of prospects.

Regardless, all of that is way down the line.

Looking at the 2021 season, he provides a quality starting pitcher option for the Rangers that should be a lock in the Texas rotation.

Even if he doesn’t find that 2018 success, there is no such thing as a bad one-year deal.

The Rangers owe Mike Foltynewicz only $2 million this season, and could easily keep him longer.

There is no pressure with the Foltynewicz deal from the organization’s or the player’s side.

Folty has a chance to find his rhythm and success with a team that isn’t expected to contend, and for the Rangers, if he doesn’t, he still provides pitching depth.

As well as he’s pitched early this spring, though, it is easy to assume he’ll find some success in 2021.

If that’s the case, even after a busy offseason for the Texas Rangers, he could slide into that “steal of the offseason” category and maybe the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year talk.