ATLANTA -- Before he earned his first All-Star selection and established himself as the ace of a rotation that has significantly influenced the Braves' surprise season, Mike Foltynewicz walked away from a disappointing arbitration ruling and almost immediately developed a new outlook on life.Through his previous three Major League seasons,
ATLANTA -- Before he earned his first All-Star selection and established himself as the ace of a rotation that has significantly influenced the Braves' surprise season, Mike Foltynewicz walked away from a disappointing arbitration ruling and almost immediately developed a new outlook on life.
Through his previous three Major League seasons, Foltynewicz had far too often allowed his temper and quick fuse to adversely affect him on the mound. So there were some concerns about the lingering effects of him losing the arbitration hearing that was held just before the start of Spring Training in Phoenix.
But those concerns quickly evaporated when Foltynewicz returned to Atlanta and immediately raced to the hospital to be with his wife Brittany, who was hours away from delivering their first child.
"I kind of did a 180 when Jett was born," Foltynewicz said. "All my attention was focused on him, and some of that other stuff just didn't matter."
Jett Foltynewicz entered this world just in time to see his father begin to live up to the tremendous expectations that have existed since the Astros selected Foltynewicz with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 Draft. He carried a lofty prospect status throughout his Minor League career and then endured the inevitable growing pains after being traded to the rebuilding Braves before the '15 season.
As Foltynewicz produced a 4.81 ERA over 65 starts for the Braves from 2015-17, he often allowed his emotions to get the best of him. It became commonplace for him to kick dirt on the mound or glare at an umpire when he felt he was shorted by a call on a borderline pitch.
While the highly-competitive Foltynewicz has still occasionally shown a glimpse of his temper this year, the frequency of episodes has decreased and his ability to quickly refocus has significantly improved. It's certainly easier to keep your cool when you rank among the National League ERA leaders. But his ascent to this status has been influenced by the tranquility that Jett's presence has created.
"It's hard to explain," Foltynewicz said. "There's really nothing like going home and spending time with him and Britt."
When Foltynewicz earned his first All-Star selection in July, he said he was looking forward to meeting and possibly getting some memorabilia from Aaron Judge. Brittany has followed the early stages of Judge's career and determined she would like Jett to handle himself in the same confident and professional manner as the Yankees slugger.
"He's hopefully going to be a good role model for Jett," Foltynewicz said.
Given the immediate influence Jett has had, a few years from now, there's certainly reason to believe he'll gain lasting memories of being with his dad as he joins Judge and baseball's other top players at future All-Star Games.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.