Astros' Foltynewicz Rebounds In Lexington
HOUSTON—Nobody is looking for a repeat season on the route from the draft to the big leagues.
So the goal when faced with one is to make the absolute most of it, and
that's what Mike Foltynewicz
did in his breakout season. Foltynewicz,
who turned 21 after the season, took advantage of that repeat of low
Class A to go 14-4, 3.14 with 125 strikeouts and 62 walks in 152
innings, and earn the distinction of the South Atlantic League's most
That he was repeating Lexington, which as of next year will no longer be
an Astros affiliate, is no surprise. There was the 4.97 ERA in his
full-season debut of 2011 that proved a learning experience. There was
also the fact that the logical step for an in-season promotion was high
Class A Lancaster, where the Astros have avoided sending premium
A two-step promotion would have been impossible because of the influx of
trade deadline pitching prospects that repopulated the Astros' Double-A
So 2012 was about wait, learn and dominate—and he credits Lexington
pitching coach Dave Borkowski
for his improvement from year one to year
"I knew what to expect going into the next season and how to prepare, what the workload would be like," Foltynewicz said.
The big challenge will come next year.
The Astros hope the 2010 first-round pick (No. 19 overall) is ready to
begin the year in Double-A Corpus Chrisi and skip Lancaster. They plan
to start Foltynewicz with the Double-A team in spring training and see
if he earns the spot.
General manager Jeff Luhnow has been a fan for a long time back to
Foltynewicz's high school days in rural Illinois and Luhnow's tenure
running the nearby Cardinals' amateur scouting department.
"I always believed that he was going to have success and this year, he
was 20 years old, he's dominated at that Low-A level and he, right now,
is one of our top pitching prospects in the organization," Luhnow said.
Foltynewicz has been the model for a pitcher with his 6-foot-4, 200
pound frame, good fastball and durability that's given him 53 starts in
the last two seasons.
With the performance starting to match the body, the Astros want to order a few more.
"Right now, he's one of our top pitching prospects in the organization.
You could see him being in Houston in two years time and beginning to
have a real impact there," Luhnow said as he continues the process of
rebuilding through the farm.
"We need four more just like him."
• Nearly forgotten righthander and one-time organizational top-five
prospect Chia-Jen Lo
is continuing his comeback bid in the Arizona Fall
League. Lo pitched just 17 innings in 2010 and 2011 combined but had a
0.90 ERA in 30 innings this year, ending in Lancaster.
• Shortstop Jiovanni Mier
is looking to make up for a mostly lost season
on the taxi squad for Mesa in the AFL. Mier was limited to 171 at-bats
at Lancaster because of a hamstring injury.