Erick Fedde offered a simple description of himself as a pitcher when he first talked to reporters after the Washington Nationals selected him 18th overall in the first round of the 2014 Draft.
“I just like to think of myself as an athletic, competitive pitcher,” he said. “Just attack with my stuff and just expect to be competitive on the mound at all times."
He’d gotten a good feel for his changeup in his final season at UNLV, he explained, before he suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and he thought it could be a third weapon for him going forward.
"The changeup was a difference-maker this year,” Fedde said, “and probably the big number difference from my freshman and sophomore year. It was a big focus going into the fall and into the spring, and was able to get a lot of work in on it and I felt, before the injury, felt very comfortable with it and I think it can be a weapon in the near future."
At the time, Fedde was three days removed from Tommy John surgery.
He’s now two seasons and 37 starts into his pro career, coming off a 23 game (22 start) 2016 campaign which saw the now-23-year-old righty go (6-4) with a 2.85 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 19 walks (1.87 BB/9) and 95 Ks (9.33 K/9) in 91 2⁄3 innings pitched for High-A Potomac and (2-1) with a 3.99 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 10 walks (3.07 BB/9) and 28 Ks (8.59 K/9) in 29 1⁄3 IP at Double-A Harrisburg.
Fedde was ranked 60th overall on MLB Pipeline’s list of the Top 100 prospects, as the Nationals’ top ranked pitcher, when this year’s rankings were released Friday night.
Fedde is working with a 91-94 mph fastball, a slider described in his scouting report as a, “...plus offering” that Fedde throws, “... in the low 80s with enough depth and tilt to miss bats,” and what’s now described as, “... an average changeup that plays nicely relative to his heater.”
“Fedde also stands out for his strike-throwing ability and command, both of which should continue to improve as he further distances himself from the surgery.”
With the trade that sent Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to Chicago in return for Adam Eaton this winter, Fedde is the top ranked pitcher in the organization on MLB’s list.
“Fedde is a candidate to move quickly in 2017,” MLB’s Pipeline scouts write, “especially in a Nationals organization that's shown a willingness to utilize top pitching prospects in recent years.”
Victor Robles, 19, joins Fedde as the only other Nationals’ prospect on MLB.com’s Top 100, ranked No. 8 overall, the second-highest outfield prospect on the list, with the scouting report included with this year’s rankings noting that while he remains, “a few years away from the Majors... Robles is well on his way towards becoming a franchise player.”