Max Fried kicks off the Top 10 of the Friars On Base Prospect List. Fried is a 20-year-old left-hander, that was drafted by the Pads in 2012. He spent that season with the team’s Arizona rookie league affiliate, then got promoted to Fort Wayne in the Midwest League. The organization has Fried ranked as their number three overall prospect, and second-best pitching prospect. Our own staff has him just cracking the top 10, due to a mixture of injury concerns, and doubts concerning his peripherals from his full season in 2013.
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Fried’s numbers suggest a pitcher with quite a bit of work to do before he’s ready to appear on a major league mound. Fort Wayne is in a Low-A league, and Fried hardly dominated, with a 7.6 K/9 ratio, and a rather high 4.2 BB/9 ratio in 118 2/3 innings pitched in 2013. His WHIP was a rather pedestrian 1.374. The only reason that he got away with a decent ERA (3.49), was that he does not seem to be prone to giving up bleacher features, as he only gave up seven bombs on the season.
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been referring to Fried’s 2013 numbers so far in this article. That’s because he missed large chunks of this season, the first three months with forearm soreness (!), before getting 5 starts in between rookie ball and Fort Wayne, then, in July, he became one of the very large number of pitchers to have Tommy John surgery. As a result of that, he’s likely to miss the majority of 2015. The injuries, combined with the dubious effectiveness of 2013, doesn’t make him a third-ranked overall organizational prospect here.
Fried only broke the Midwest League top-40 in K/9, which doesn’t scream dominance to me. He’s going to miss most of next season after the TJ surgery. His control wasn’t great to begin with, and won’t be any better for quite some time when he does pitch again. I don’t see him on a major league roster anytime before the latter part of this decade.