The Orioles seem to be targeting LHP Max Fried, and he could become the O’s newest prospect if they select him with the fourth overall pick in tonight’s MLB Draft.
Height/Weight: 6-feet-4, 180 pounds
School: Harvard-Westlake High (California)
Body: Tall and slender with little muscular development. Can add weight, strength, and overall muscle down the line.
Max Fried throws from a mid to high 3/4 slot that typically runs a bit higher than most left handed pitchers. He throws mainly 90-93 mph, but can sneak the four seamer up to 95 mph, even in later innings.
Since Fried has a 3/4 delivery, it has natural tailing movement off the hand side and he does a good job of delaying the look making the pitch play up.
He has a natural sinking two seamer that I have seen run up to 91 mph, and others assure me that it went up to 92 mph this spring. It has a nice hard action drop that with time and maturation could make it a staple offering in his arsenal. Since he has some room for growth, there is a good chance the overall grade of the fastball can improve to plus with strength and size added to his frame.
4S: 5.0 (5.5/6.0)
2S: 4.0 (6.0)
Fried’s curveball flashes some potential and has a nice bite through the zone. His 3/4 slot makes this pitch inconsistent and time will improve the offering, as well as some upper body strength/stability in the arm.
He can throw this pitch from 79-82 mph, but I prefer the speed to be in the 74/75 mph range, which is when I saw it at its best. With impressive spin and down hill bite, Fried’s curveball could become a plus pitch down the line, and it would not shock me if it develops into plus-plus territory as a pro.
CB: 4.0/4.5 (6.0/6.5)
Fried shows a real hard changeup with hand side movement that will fade away from right handed hitters and has nice drop into the left side.
He has real good feel for a high school pitcher and commands his changeup better than any pitch in his arsenal. He ran this pitch 80-82 mph in my scope this spring, but routinely stays 80-84 mph. Fried’s changeup has some real potential to be a swing and miss pitch as a professional.
CH: 5.0 (6.5/7.0)
Fried’s command is what is making him a surefire top half of the first round pick. He can keep all of his pitches down in the zone and did not miss the mitt very often when I saw him this spring.
He works both sides of the plate well for a high school kid and is not afraid to put the ball inside against right handed hitters. His command does tend to falter when he rides slightly lower and higher in the 3/4 slot, but this is simply due to age and can be ironed out as a professional.
Command: 5.0 (5.5/6.0)
Controlling his curveball is Fried’s area of weakness and this will improve as he moves through the minors. He can loose his release point at times, but it is something that will iron out as a professional.
I think I might be a bit bearish right now based my limited viewing of him this spring, but I’ve seen him over the years and feel that he can improve to reach those front line starter projections.
Control: 4.5 (5.5/6.0)
There is little wasted motion in Fried’s delivery and the pitches move effortlessly out of his hand. He has a real methodical delivery with fast arm speed and loose actions.
There is borderline elevation occurring, but the relationship between the elbow and shoulders should bear no issues down the line. He has very good push and drive from the lower half.
His stride length at its best is very impressive. He tends to repeat the motion often, but it does go short at times. He has really good downhill release and extension over the front half, and this could continue to improve and is an aspect that I would continue to push as he develops, as he can pull up abruptly on occasion.
Mechanics: 5.0 (5.5)
Any team that selects Fried would be getting a very athletic kid with intangibles and a feel for pitching that is better than your average high school lefty.
He has a good idea of how to set up hitters and is willing to work off any pitch. He shows a nice foundation that could develop into three above average to plus offerings from the left side.
A lot of it is still projection; his ceiling is tied to maturation and the ability to improve velocity and movement of both types of fastballs.
Ceiling: There is some thinking that with a tick improvement on the fastball and improved control of the CB, he could become a poor #1 starter or very, very strong number 2
Projected: Solid number #2 or #3 pitcher in a rotation with the ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the park.
Floor: His changeup and sinker can make him a solid ground ball artist and an asset in any bullpen as a lefty specialist.
Comparisons: Jimmy Key, Barry Zito