Last summer, you may remember me talking about a pitcher who surprised me at the USA Baseball exhibition game in Geneva, IL. I picked him as a sleeper to watch. His name is Erick Fedde, a tall RHP from UNLV. Here is what I said then,
The biggest surprise in the two games was Fedde . He flew in from the Cape Cod League, where he'd been pitching well, and put on a uniform so new that they didn't even have time to sew his name on it yet. Fedde is long, lean and projectable at 6'4", 175 lbs -- but he showed plenty of present stuff, including a 93 mph fastball and a tight slider that looks like it has plus potential. He commanded both pitches well. He got a few hitters to chase on the slider, pitching 3 no-hit, no-walk innings and striking out 5.
At the time I wrote this, Fedde was considered a late 1st round pick at best, but things have changed. In Keith Law's most recent MLB Draft article, he names Fedde as one of the pitchers in the mix for the top 5.
It's hard for me to imagine that he's (Tyler Beede) not a top-five pick, with only Carlos Rodon and Tyler Kolek clearly ahead of him at this point, assuming (and hoping) everyone stays healthy. Beede should be in every team's mix from pick No. 3 on, in the same decision set as East Carolina's Jeff Hoffman, whom I saw last week, and UNLV's Erick Fedde, who has come out very strongly this spring.
Law's article is primarily about Beede, as the paragraph implies, but I was very excited to see Fedde's name included at the top of the draft. He was the most impressive pitcher I saw on that particular pair of days -- Beede included.
Another pitcher on the rise is LSU's Aaron Nola, who doesn't wow you with his stuff or size, and he has a lower arm slot than you would like, but he has looked great early on. I have to admit I'm one of those skeptical on Nola, but there is no question he seems to know how to get hitters out. He's more than just a finesse pitcher too. His stuff is solid to good -- maybe not top of the rotation good, but a legit #3 starter seems plausible. In an article by ESPN's Chris Crawford, one NL East scout agrees,
"The only reason he's not considered a lock to start is because of that [low arm] slot," an NL East scout said. "You just don't see a lot of starters work from that low, left- or right-handed. It's not a question of his stuff, he could be a solid No. 4; maybe a No. 3 based on his arsenal.
"It's just going to take one team to think he's a starter to see him go early on day one. He's always shown he can throw strikes, but if he can show the kind of command he did (Friday)? He's certainly got a shot."
Crawford thinks that Nola will be a mid first rounder.
It's time to keep an eye on these guys and we'll update you every week. We'll look at risers and fallers. Right now there looks like there are more risers into the top 5-10 discussion, which is a good thing for the Cubs.
Rodon went 7 innings and walked 3 while striking out 8. He also hit 2 batters. He did limit the damage, however, with just 3 hits allowed, leading to two runs, though only one was earned. He did take the loss and fell to 1-2, but he does have a good 2.14 ERA in 23 IP so far. He has 23 Ks and 6 BBs.
Beede is off to the best statistical start at 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA. Hitters have hit just .085 against him. He has walked 5 and struck out 24 in 18 innings so far.
Hoffman is 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA but has similar walk/strikeout numbers to Rodon at 6BB/26Ks in 21.1 IP.
Turner is off to a solid start, hitting .368 with a .422 OBP. He has yet to hit for much power, slugging .395 on only one extra base hit (a double) all season. Turner's greatest tool is his speed, and he has used it thus far to steal 7 bases in 9 attempts.
Fedde has just one start so far but it was an impressive one. He went 7 innings and allowed 4 hits and just one run while walking 3 and striking out 7.
Filed under: Uncategorized