“Early in the year we had him certainly as a Top 10 guy and possibly even higher than that,” Nats GM Mike Rizzo said of their first round pick, RHP Erick Fedde
The Washington Nationals selected UNLV right-handed pitcher Erick Fedde with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. With the 57th overall pick, the Nats selected U. of Miami left-handed pitcher Andrew Suarez.
From the press releases:
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound junior is regarded as one of the top collegiate arms in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
A native of Las Vegas, Nev., Fedde went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA (15 ER/76.2 IP) and 82 strikeouts in 11 starts for the Rebels this season. He was named the 2014 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year and to the All-Mountain West First Team after going 6-1 with league-leading 1.60 ERA (10 ER/56.1 IP) in eight starts in conference play.
For his efforts during the ’14 campaign, Fedde was named a Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and named to the midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list.
The 21-year old entered the 2014 season rated as the No.12 pitching prospect and the No. 17 overall prospect in collegiate baseball, according to Baseball America.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound southpaw went 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA (36 ER/109.2 IP) in 16 starts for the University of Miami in 2014. He struck out 87 while walking just 15 batters. His 109.2 innings led the Hurricanes’ pitching staff and were second-most in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while his 87 strikeouts were good for eighth in the league.
A native of Miami, Fla., Suarez attended Christopher Columbus High School where he was named All-Dade County First-Team and an AFLAC All-American. He was previously selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Fedde was considered a top-15 talent in the draft but was available to the Nationals at 18 as Fedde underwent Tommy John surgery on June 3. Fedde will not be expected to pitch for at least a year.
Suarez required labrum surgery as a freshman at Miami due to a shoulder injury he sustained in high school.
Nats GM Mike Rizzo and Scouting Director Kris Kline spoke to the media following the Fedde selection, and naturally has glowing praise for their newest draft pick, while acknowledging the risk of selecting players with an injury history.
“You really do have to balance the risk and the reward,” Rizzo explained to reporters. “What we’ve looked at in the past, is that the upside has to really trump the risk of a player not coming back from injury. Usually we really weigh elbow injuries a lot more favorable than shoulder injuries, so that goes into it. And a lot goes into the character of the player and the type of makeup that he has. The rehab process is not a simple one, so you have to have the right character and makeup to go through it and to come out the other end better than when you started it.”
“We’ve known [Fedde] for a long time,” Rizzo said. “He went to high school with Harp [Nats OF Bryce Harper] and he said a lot of good things about him. And we talked to, obviously talked to his college coach and did an extensive background on the guy and like I said, we’ve known him, we feel comfortable with him and have known him, have a history on him, known him for a long time back to his early days at UNLV and also Team USA and his junior year at UNLV. So we felt we know the player well, we know the character and the makeup of the player and you could tell on the field he’s a very competitive, athletic, bulldog-type of mentality.”
“He’s a plus stuff guy,” Rizzo explained. “We’ve scouted him intensely over the last three years. He’s got two plus-plus pitches and his third pitch, the changeup is on the come. We think that’s going to be an above-average pitch. Big physical guy, and we had him towards the top of our draft board and we thought the risk of him rehabbing and coming back to pre-injury form was worth the draft pick.”
“I actually saw his first start of the year at UNLV, and it was really, really good,” Kline added. “I walked out of there thinking that we’ve got no shot at getting this player because he’s a Top 5-type guy. Through the sixth inning he was still 95-98 [mph]. He doesn’t throw anything straight. A lot of life, very heavy. Above-average slider, up to 88 and the makings and flashes of an above-average changeup. A lot of strikes. Very competitive guy. Looks a lot like, if you guys remember Jack McDowell, body-type, delivery, that type of thing with a little more fastball.”
The deadline to get draft picks signed is July 18. The allotted signing bonus for the 18th pick in $2.145 million. Fedde is represented by the Boras Corporation.