BLUF: Intriguing left-hander with good combination of present stuff and projection. Potential number two starter.
The Player: Max Fried (LHP, Harvard-Westlake High School) – Fried transferred to Harvard-Westlake for his senior season, teaming up with right-hander Lucas Giolito to form arguably the most formidable top two starters in the prep ranks. Fried has been forced to become Harvard-Westlake’s ace this spring after Giolito was shut down with an elbow injury. He is committed to UCLA.
Basis of Report: Industry Contacts
Body (6-4, 175): Above-average athlete. Incredibly projectable frame. Very lean with long arms and legs that he’s still learning to control consistently. Has room to add strength to his frame without bulking up significantly or losing flexibility.
Delivery/Mechanics: Arm works very well. Has some trouble maintaining a consistent arm slot but that should come with improved coordination as he matures. Length of arms and legs can be distracting to hitters and gives him some deception. Some scouts would like to see him employ a quicker tempo throughout his delivery. Finishes in an athletic position and gets off the mound well.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 92, Low – 87, Average – 89-90, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 91, Low 88, Average 89-90, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Shows natural arm-side movement. Ball comes back over the plate to left-handers and can run away from right-handers. Shows occasional sink which could really benefit him against right-handed hitters. Good angle to the plate thanks to his high-3/4 delivery and height. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Scouts vary on how much velocity they project him to gain. Believers in his projection (of which I am one) see him with good movement on a true plus fastball. Grade – 50/60
Curveball (CB): The CB could make him famous. He gets excellent downward break on the ball with tight spin and a good feel for commanding the pitch. True hammer breaker that could be an outstanding bat-missing second pitch. Needs to continue throwing it both in and out of the strike zone. Grade – 60/70
Change-up (CH): Hasn’t really needed a change-up in high school. Shows some feel for the pitch but needs significant refinement. Even a fringe-average change-up that he can locate will help keep right-handed hitters off his fastball and give him something else to induce weak contact. Feel for pitching gives him a chance to develop a solid CH. Grade – 20/40
Control: Throws strikes routinely with both FB and CB. Gets loose within the strike zone but consistently tries to work in the lower half of the zone. Grade – 40/60
Command: Has spurts of command. Athleticism, arm action and current strike-throwing ability give excellent command projection. Should have plus command down the line as he matures physically and continues polishing his delivery. Grade – 30/60
Summation: Lots of tools and potential. Highly projectable pitcher with long frame and solid present stuff. Shows some feel for pitching at a young age, helping his long term projection. Good athlete with solid fielding ability. Very inexperienced and will have to learn sequencing and how to keep base runners from getting a good read on him. Above-average pickoff move but needs to improve the variety of looks. Potential number two or three starter depending on how much of his projection he fulfills.
Relative Risk: High. On the lower end of the “high” spectrum. Despite requiring a lot of projection, his solid pitchability and good present stuff give him less risk than some high school pitchers.
Draft Projection: Easy first round selection. Could go as high as top ten to a team that really loves him. Should fit solidly in the mid-teens.