Max Fried Returns
I’m wondering how many of you got the reference to the slightly obscure Matthew Broderick film, circa 1983. But I digress.
As I mentioned yesterday, Max Fried was heading back to the mound in a playoff game for Harvard-Westlake out in Southern California. The high school lefty, the highest rated prep arm on our Draft Top 100, had been shaky his previous two outings. Most concerning was that after a good start in the first inning or so, he was losing velocity and command, leading to poor results. A seemingly sure-fire Top 10 pick, there was talk of him sliding as teams tried to figure out what was wrong with Fried. Could it be just chalked up to fatigue — Fried has been a two-way player all year and has been the team’s ace since Lucas Giolito went down with his elbow issue — or was there something physically wrong?
If Thursday’s start was any indication, reports of Fried’s demise were greatly exaggerated. With a ton of scouts in attendance — every team picking in the first half of the first round was there in some fashion — Fried was back to his old self. He threw a complete-game shutout, striking out 10 and walking just one.
More importantly was the bounce back of his stuff. His fastball was 90-95 mph throughout the outing. His 12-to-6 curve (72-78 mph) was sharp and he commanded it extremely well. He mixed in an effective changeup (82-84 mph). In other words, lights out.
There may have been a time when teams in the middle of the first, or maybe even the second half of the first round, thought they had a shot of Fried getting to them, it’s hard to imagine that happening now. My first projection had him going No. 10 to the Rockies, though as someone pointed out to me recently, Colorado might be a little gun shy about taking a SoCal high school lefty this high (see Matzek, Tyler). That point may now be moot as Fried could be gone by the time the Rockies make that selection.