The Washington Nationals need all of the bullpen help they can get. The former starter turned reliever, Erick Fedde, is giving the team quality innings.
Aside from one questionable call, later reviewed and confirmed by the umpires in New York, Fedde pitched brilliantly.
Fedde’s sample size of eight innings pitched in the Major Leagues this season is far too small to draw definite conclusions. However, his 0.00 ERA is tough to dismiss.
While it is highly unlikely it will stay that way over the remaining 121 games, Fedde’s performance is leading the Nats to believe he can be a reliable option out of the bullpen.
General Manager Mike Rizzo stated recently that he would prefer to continue developing Fedde as a starter. However, if for this season he positively contributes to the bullpen, that may be his role.
If Fedde is destined to stay in the bullpen, he projects to be an above average performer. The various projection systems on FanGraphs.com tab Fedde for an ERA and FIP around 4.00 and a slightly above average strikeout rate.
The one concern still surrounding Fedde, regardless of his role, is his walk rate.
In his MLB career, totaling just under 75 innings, Fedde issues over four free passes per nine innings. The FanGraphs projection systems have his walk rate for the rest of 2019 lower than his career rate, but it is still worrisome.
Other than the walks, Fedde has been a solid pitcher. He keeps hard contact to a minimum and gets ground balls on over 55% of the balls he lets in play. He is a valuable asset, no matter which innings he pitches.
Fedde was just recently demoted and called back up from Double-A Harrisburg. Should he continue to pitch well, he may stick on the MLB 25-man roster for good.