Here was Max Fried’s line from his 2016 campaign at Low-A Rome.
That’s not too bad. Sure he was a 22-year-old pitching in Low-A, but he was also coming back from Tommy John Surgery.
This year has looked a bit different for the promising left-hander.
Yikes. An ERA that high usually spells trouble. But really, what’s changed?
The hits have increased by one per inning, but the increase in walks and decrease in strikeouts don’t align with his ERA at all. This calls for some advanced metrics.
So you can see some discrepancies but the ground ball rate is nearly identical and the BABIP is pretty close. You can see the left on base percentage is a pretty big difference, but so is the home run to fly ball ratio. If anything, Fried should be pitching pretty close to his 2016 numbers. Let’s look at two of my favorite stats FIP and xFIP.
There it is! Fried isn’t doing anything differently. Sure, hitters are figuring him out a little bit at Double-A, but not nearly to the point that his ERA would indicate. So what does this mean, Braves fans?
Max Fried is one of the unluckiest pitchers in the minor leagues right now. I’m sure the Braves would like to see the 23-year-old have some better numbers and peripherals at Mississippi, but they aren’t so bad that he should get sent down or his prospect status questioned.
This is a chance to see how Fried’s makeup on the diamond is. You can’t help what sort of luck you draw. All you can do is stick to your gameplan and hope that luck eventually reverses and finds itself on your side, or at least not against you.
I’ve been a big fan of Max Fried since his acquisition in December of 2015. So much so that I actually had him ahead of Sean Newcomb on my prospect list. There’s nothing to worry about with Fried right now. Let him continue pitching at the Double-A level and if his peripherals continue to be where they are, he should advance to Triple-A Gwinnett without issue for 2018.