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Mike Foltynewicz has great outing in Kansas City

Mike Foltynewicz could really become a huge part of the Atlanta rotation if he continues to pitch the way he did Saturday in Kansas City.

Evan Gattis is now in Double-A. The Astros, for some reason, want him to catch again.

Meanwhile, the players who were acquired from Houston in the trade, are doing very well for the Braves, both with the big league team and in the minor leagues.

Mike Foltynewicz was the main piece in that trade. He is a hard-throwing right-hander who had issues in the past with his control. But those issues are disappearing before our eyes, as Foltynewicz has now had two outstanding performances in a row. Well, they've really been dominating performances.

Saturday Foltynewicz pitched eight scoreless against the defending World Series champions. He allowed seven hits, struck out four and... the most important stat of the night... did not walk a batter. It was the second straight outing that Foltynewicz did not allow a walk. Last Sunday, he allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks.

In his three starts, Foltynewicz is 1-1 with a 2.89 earned run average. He's allowed 20 hits in 18.2 innings, with two walks (both in his first start of the season) and 16 strikeouts.

Foltynewicz has now made 18 starts in his career, all in the last two seasons with the Braves. These last two starts have been his best, and it gives the Braves hope he has turned the corner. Many have wanted Foltynewicz in the bullpen, thinking his strong fastball could be lethal in the late innings. But not many pitchers can sustain a fastball into the late innings in a start like Foltynewicz can. That's why it was extremely important the Braves gave him every chance possible to be a starting pitcher.

The other pitcher in that trade, Andrew Thurman, also pitched well Saturday night. Thurman allowed just one run on three hits in 6.2 innings, with one walk and nine strikeouts. Thurman has now made five starts this season for Double-A Mississippi. He's got 23 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. After having four walks in four innings in his start on May 4, Thurman has had just two walks in his last two starts.

Rio Ruiz, the one position player acquired from the Astros in the Gattis deal, is hitting .276 with Triple-A Gwinnett. Ruiz has slowed down a bit since a hot start in April. Ruiz hit .310 in the first month of the season, with two home runs and 10 RBI. But in May, Ruiz is hitting .209 with one run batted in. The Braves need to see Ruiz have some consistency in his offense before even thinking about giving him a chance in Atlanta. Ruiz was also inconsistent last season in Double-A Mississippi.

So far, the trade with the Astros looks good for the Braves. With Foltynewicz, Thurman and Ruiz still young, the full impact of the trade may not be known for years. But so far, it's a very good trade.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.


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