His velocity was back up where it should be after it dropped as he dealt with a flexor mass strain that ended his season last September, and he impressed in six outings (two of them starts) and 14 2⁄3 innings pitched this Spring, over which he gave up 16 hits and four runs, walking six and striking out 11 batters with opposing hitters putting up a .291 AVG against him, but the Washington Nationals announced this afternoon that top right-hand pitching prospect Erick Fedde has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, where he’ll start the season after competing for the fifth spot in the big league rotation in Spring Training.
Fedde, 25, is, of course, the Nationals’ 2014 1st Round pick out of UNLV, who had surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow the month of the draft in June ‘14, but worked his way back and last season made his MLB debut.
Though he struggled in his first major league outings, the Nationals liked what they saw from the righty this Spring.
“[Fedde] is throwing extremely well,” GM Mike Rizzo told MLB Network Radio’s Eduardo Perez and Steve Phillips last week.
“His velocity was back up to 95-97 the last outing against the Astros and he’s flashing extremely good stuff.”
“I think highly of him,” manager Dave Martinez told reporters, as quoted by Washington Times’ beat writer David Driver, after yesterday’s relief appearance by the pitcher.
“He’s really good,” Martinez added. He’s really young. We’re going to keep building him up. We haven’t made any decisions on the fifth starter’s spot. But I like Erick a lot.”
Apparently, Fedde will start his 2018 campaign with the Nats’ top minor league affiliate, which means A.J. Cole, who is out of options this Spring, will likely, as predicted, land a spot in the Nationals’ rotation at the start of the season, though Edwin Jackson, Tommy Milone, and Jeremy Hellickson, who just signed, and is behind the others, are still in the running for the final spot behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark.