Down on the Farm: Checking in on the Nationals’ Top-10 Prospects

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Mar 20, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; A detailed shot of sunglass and baseball cap before a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4: Erick Fedde, RHP – GCL Nationals

The Nationals selected Erick Fedde with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. The right-hander likely would’ve been chosen earlier in the draft had he not undergone Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery just a few days earlier.

While other teams passed on Fedde because of the surgery, drafting him was a no-brainer for the Nationals, who are no strangers to taking risks on talented young players whose stock dropped because of an injury suffered prior to the draft.

In 2012, the Nationals drafted right-hander Lucas Giolito with the 16th overall pick, despite the fact that he would likely require Tommy John surgery later that summer. Giolito had the surgery, recovered nicely, and is now considered the team’s top prospect. Needless to say, general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals aren’t afraid of taking a chance on a player if the potential is there. And with Fedde, there’s plenty of potential.

Fedde saw great success pitching for UNLV as a freshman in 2012, posting a 3.59 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings. The right-hander had another great year 2013, when he posted a 3.92 ERA in 96 1/3 inning while striking out 83 and walking just 23 during that span.

While Fedde was solid in his first two years at UNLV, he really began to show his potential in the Cape Cod League after his sophomore year, where he posted a 2.34 ERA with a 26/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 2/3 innings for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Fedde continued his impressive summer with the Team USA Collegiate Team, where he posted a 3.18 ERA with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.

Fedde added to his draft stock during his junior year at UNLV in 2014, going 8-2 while posting an impressive 1.76 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings over 11 starts. While his season was shortened due to the injury, the right-hander’s college success and big league potential was worth the risk for the Nationals.

Fedde boasts an athletic 6-foot-4, 180 pound frame and relies on a lively low to mid-90’s fastball that he can command well. His slider still needs some work, but should develop into another above-average pitch down the road. It’ll be interesting to see how Fedde performs at the professional level once he completes his rehab next year.