Legends hand ball to hard-throwing 19-year-old for season opener

Righty from Minooka boasts a bazooka

mmaloney@herald-leader.comApril 7, 2011 

  • 2011 Lexington Legends

    Pitchers

    No. Ht. Wt. B/T Age Hometown

    20 Ruben Alaniz 6-4 195 R/R 19 La Grulla, Texas

    26 Tanner Bushue 6-4 207 R/R 19 Kinmundy, Ill. 21 Jason Chowning 6-4 186 L/L 23 Louisville, Ky. 32 Jorge DeLeon 6-0 182 R/R 23 La Cega Azua, Dom. Rep. 25 Brad Dydalewicz 6-1 195 L/L 21 Spicewood, Texas 25 Mike Foltynewicz 6-4 200 R/R 19 Minooka, Ill. 8 Gabriel Garcia 5-11 164 L/L 21 Charallave, Venezuela 34 Murilo Gouvea 6-2 208 R/R 22 Sao Paulo, Brazil 35 David Martinez 6-2 215 R/R 23 Cumana, Venezuela 46 Juan Minaya 6-4 193 R/R 20 Maimon, Dom. Rep. 27 Carlos Quevedo 6-2 239 R/R 21 Valencia, Venezuela 44 Alexander Sogard 6-3 222 L/L 23 Austin, Texas 31 Brian Streilein 6-4 211 R/R 22 Point Pleasant, N.J.

    Catchers

    10 Roberto Pena 6-0 210 S/R 18 Caguas, Puerto Rico 19 Chris Wallace 6-0 212 R/R 23 Cypress, Texas

    Infielders

    23 Telvin Nash 6-2 220 R/R 20 Belleview, Fla.

    14 Jhonny Medrano 6-1 223 R/R 23 Tucupita, Venezuela

    2 Delino DeShields Jr.5-9 203 R/R 18 Ocala, Fla.

    24 Enrique Hernandez 5-11 170 R/R 19 Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

    3 Jiovanni Mier 6-2 180 R/R 20 Las Vegas, Nev.

    7 Mike Kvasnicka 6-2 208 S/R 22 Lakeville, Minn.

    12 Tyler Burnett 6-0 205 L/R 21 Murfreesboro, Ten.

    9 Ben Orloff 5-11 171 R/R 23 Simi Valley, Calif.

    Outfielders

    13 Adam Bailey 6-1 192 L/L 23 Monument, Colo.

    30 Daniel Adamson 5-11 215 R/R 23 Spring, Ala.

    15 Bryce Lane 6-0 180 R/R 21 Phoenix, Ala.

    Coaching staff

    33 Rodney Linares Manager 33 S.P. de Macoris, Dom. Rep.

    11 Joel Chimelis Hitting coach 43 Brooklyn, N.Y.

    36 Dave Borkowski Pitching coach 34 Detroit, Mich.

    Drew Hanley Strength and conditioning coach

    Grant Hufford Trainer

  • 2011 Legends schedule

    All times p.m. and Eastern unless noted

    April

    7-10Charleston, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 2:05

    11-14Hagerstown, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    15-18At Asheville, 7:05, 6:05, 2:05, 7:05

    19-23At Savannah, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 6:05

    25-29Kannapolis, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    30-3AUGUSTA, 7:05, 2:05, 7:05, 7:05

    May

    5-8At Hagerstown, 6:35, 6:35, 6:35, 1:05

    9-12At Kannapolis, 7:05, 7:05, 10:05 a.m., 7:05

    13-16Asheville, 7:05, 7:05, 2:05, 10:05 a.m.

    17-19West Virginia, 7:05, 10:05 a.m., 7:05

    20-23At Asheville, 7:05, 6:05, 2:05, 11:05 a.m.

    25-28ROME, 10:05 a.m., 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    29-31At Greensboro, 7, 12:30, 7

    June

    1-4West Virginia, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    5-7At Greenville, 4, 7, 7

    9-11HICKORY, 7;05, 7:05, 7:05

    12-15At Augusta, 5:35, 7:05, 7:05, 12:05

    16-19At Rome, 7, 7, 7, 2

    23-26GREENVILLE, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 5:05

    27-30At West Virginia, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    July

    1-3At Hagerstown, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    4-6WEST VIRGINIA, 7:05, 7:05, 12:05

    7-10At Hickory, 7, 7, 7, 5

    12-15SAVANNAH, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    16-18HAGERSTOWN, 7:05, 5:05, 7:05

    20-22At Charleston, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    23-26At Savannah, 6:05, 2:05, 7:05, 11:05 a.m.

    28-31ROME, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 5:05

    August

    1-4KANNAPOLIS, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    5-8At Greenville, 7, 7, 4, 7

    10-13AUGUSTA, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    14-17At Hagerstown, 4:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    18-21At Hickory, 7, 7, 7, 5

    22-25ASHEVILLE, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05, 7:05

    26-30At West Virginia, 7:05, 7:05, 2:05, 7:05, 7:05

    September

    1-5SAVANNAH, 5:05, 7:05, 7:05, 5:05, 12:05

  • Season opener

    Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogsat Legends

    When: 7:05 p.m. Thursday

    Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark

    Radio: WLXG-AM 1300

Less than a year has passed since Mike Foltynewicz, the ace of the Minooka Community High School baseball team, would get pumped up before games by playing drums.

In Minooka, an Illinois town about 30 minutes south of Chicago, Foltynewicz played in a rock band.

"We had about five different names," he said. His favorite name: Stuck In October (his birth month).

Foltynewicz sees his calling as baseball, though, rather than music.

Thursday, he'll be the starting pitcher for the Lexington Legends when they open the season in Whitaker Bank Ballpark against the Charleston RiverDogs.

As is his custom, Legends president and CEO Alan Stein has guaranteed victory in the season opener. If the team doesn't come through, the University of Kentucky graduate has vowed to "dress like Bruce Pearl" — the former Tennessee basketball coach — until the Legends do win. That could make any pitcher nervous.

"If I don't (get nervous), there's something wrong with me," Foltynewicz said. "Yeah, I'll have a little bit of nerves in there. Especially with the CEO sitting there. If we lose that game, he's got to dress up in his enemy's outfit. ... I don't want to upset anybody right away, so I'll try to do my best."

A 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander, Foltynewicz is a mere 19.

He was set to attend the University of Texas until the Houston Astros picked him in the first round of last June's draft (19th overall) and offered a $1.305 million bonus.

"That was my dream school, so it really took a lot to get me away from Texas," he said. "But it did, and I'm glad that it worked out the way it did."

He allowed himself one treat with his bonus money — a Ford F-150 pickup truck. An only child, he entrusted parents Gary and Cindy "to put the rest away; wait until I get a little older to start digging in."

Rodney Linares, manager of the Legends, also is glad things worked out so Foltynewicz is in the Bluegrass.

"Young kid. Power arm," Linares said. "He's got the little strut. ... He struts around like he's good. And he is good."

Baseball America rates Foltynewicz as the fourth-best prospect in the Astros system.

His fastball has been clocked as high as 96 mph and is his money pitch. It's also his most improved pitch since last season, he says, because his focus in spring training was to sharpen his location skills.

If he's able to locate the heater, that will set up opportunities to fool batters with his change-up and two-seam curve ball.

Last summer, with Greene-ville of the Appalachian League, Foltynewicz made 12 starts, worked 45 innings and went 0-3 with a 4.03 ERA. He struck out 39 and walked 15.

As he has grown familiar with fellow Astros prospects, Foltynewicz has become more inquisitive.

"I talk to hitters all the time and see what they're thinking," he said. "Talk to the other pitchers, just about baseball. 'What do you think about that? What are you going to throw in that situation?'

"I get around. I get some pretty good tips from everyone, so I can't complain."

His aims for the new season are basic — stay focused, be determined, throw strikes, go at least six or seven innings, keep the pitch count under 90.

Get off to a good start Thursday.

"I'm excited. Besides, it's my first full season and everything," he said. "I had a good spring training and I'm trying to ... build on it. Come out opening day and just do what I do, and get that first win out of the way."

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