Prospect Max Fried’s 2018 season outlook

Prospect Max Fried’s 2018 season outlook

The Arizona Fall League will name a champion on Nov. 18, and Braves prospect Max Fried could have a key role to play. The southpaw has fully overcome Tommy John surgery to reestablish himself as a top prospect in MLB.

For the Braves, Fried’s rise couldn’t have come at a better time. With many prospects like the much heralded Ronald Acuna ready to make the major league jump, Max Fried has tasted MLB, and is ready to take the ball every fifth day in Atlanta. This is prospect Max Fried’s 2018 season outlook.

The injury

Entering 2014, Fried was one of the hottest left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. Drafted with the seventh overall pick in 2012, the San Diego Padres were sure they had an “ace of the future” waiting in the wings. They might have been right, had Fried not injured that prized left arm of his.

At just 20 years old, in 2014, Fried was the third ranked prospect in San Diego’s farm system as rated by Baseball America. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, until early in the spring months, Fried began feeling soreness in his left forearm.

As a result, the Padres medical staff shut down all throwing activities for the young hurler. He wouldn’t see live action again in 2014 until mid-July. However, he didn’t last long. In his third start after his return, he began to complain of soreness in his arm, this time in his elbow. And this time, it would require surgery to repair. Tommy John surgery and the resulting rehab would cost Fried nearly two years of his career, and he wouldn’t again pitch until 2016.

The comeback

Prospect Max Fried’s 2018 season outlook

Max Fried as a fresh-faced draft pick of the San Diego Padres. (Photo courtesy of: AP/Alex Gallardo)

Although Max Fried would lose nearly two years of his development to rehab after undergoing Tommy John, he remained committed to the cause. However, when he resumed pitching he would no longer be doing it for the team that drafted him. During December of 2014, Fried was part of a trade that sent Braves’ outfielder Justin Upton to San Diego in return for a load of top-end prospects. Fried was one of them.

In 2016, Fried would break camp with Low-A Rome in the Braves system. While he started slowly, the surgically repaired elbow stood up to the test of live action. By season’s end, Fried would be firmly entrenched as one of the most dominant pitchers in the Sally League.

In 21 games (20 starts) Fried pitched 103 innings, striking out 112 batters, and posted a 3.93 ERA for the year. Excellent work for a young pitcher coming back from the vaunted Tommy John surgery.

Building off a strong 2016, the Braves decided to challenge Fried by jumping him two levels to Double-A. In 19 starts for Mississippi, Fried pitched to a 5.92 ERA and won two while losing 11. However, the strikeouts were still there. He fanned 85 over 86.2 innings of work. This would suggest that his pitches were taking time to find their bite at an advanced level.

If that were all there was to go on, you might think of Fried as a ho-hum type of prospect, but he buckled down when the Braves moved him to Triple-A Gwinnett. In two starts at Gwinnett, spanning six innings of work, the youngster only surrendered one hit, walking two and striking out six. It was on the back of this performance that Fried earned his first big league call-up. And he didn’t disappoint.

For Atlanta, their eighth ranked prospect, fared well in his first taste of MLB. In nine appearances (four starts), Fried went 1-1 with a 3.81 ERA striking out 22 and walking 12 in 26 innings of work.

For Fried, the road back has been long, but his outlook for 2018 is bright.

Prospect Max Fried’s 2018 season outlook

Max Fried fires one to home as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
(Photo courtesy of: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

As it stands now, into the last week of the Arizona Fall League’s schedule, Fried has arguably been the best pitcher in the league. What Fried has done in Arizona, considering his past injury, has been remarkable. His line this fall 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA has shown that this young man is ready for the big-time. Fried has tested himself in Arizona against baseball’s most elite prospects, and has come through in fine style.

The strikeouts are still there as well. In 26 innings of work for the Peoria Javelinas, Fried has struck out 32 batters, while only walking eight. Mitch Keller and Justus Sheffield are the only other starting pitchers in Arizona with a better WHIP than Max Fried. Neither of those two pitchers, however, has posted as many innings of work as Fried has this fall.

Based on the late season call-up to Atlanta, and the success he had there, it would be inconceivable to see Fried start anywhere but Atlanta. It’s a bonus for the Braves’ front office personnel that Fried has dominated in Arizona like he has.

The kid is ready. Give him the ball.


(feature photo courtesy of: David Banks/Getty Images)


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Wilson Ramos 2018

Wilson Ramos fantasy: Tale of the tape


Wilson Ramos fantasy

Wilson Ramos was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2004. (Photo by Getty Images)

Wilson Ramos was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2004, although he would not make his professional debut until 2006. A then 18-year-old Ramos spent his inaugural season in the Gulf Coast League, where he would bat .286 with 16 extra base hits and 26 RBIs in just 46 games.

In 2007, Ramos would progress to Single-A, where he would bat .291 with 36 extra base hits and 42 RBIs in 73 games. In 2008, Ramos would continue his ascension through the minor leagues, moving to the High-A Florida State League, where he would bat .288 with 38 extra base hits and 78 RBIs in 126 games.

At this point in his career, Ramos was ranked as the third prospect in the Twins farm system and 71st overall prospect among the MLB’s top 100 according to Baseball America.

In 2009, Ramos was promoted to the Double-A Eastern League. His minor league consistency and success would continue, as a then 21-year-old Ramos batted .317 with 20 extra base hits and 29 RBIs in 54 games.

His first struggles came in 2010, where in 71 games with the Twins Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings, Ramos batted only .241 with just 19 base hits and 30 RBIs.

Ramos was subsequently traded to the Washington Nationals in July of 2010 for reliever Matt Capps, as the Twins were 56-46 at the time, and felt as though Capps could be a postseason contributor out of the pen.

In 20 games with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs, Ramos would begin to thrive once again, batting .316 with 14 runs scored, eight RBIs and seven extra base hits. His first substantial major league action came in 2011, where at 23 years old, Ramos batted .267 with 38 extra base hits and 52 RBIs in 113 games. He was successively chosen by Baseball America to represent as the catcher of the All-Rookie Team.

Ramos’ 2012 campaign was cut short after just 25 games due to a torn ACL that he suffered in May of that year. In 2013, Ramos would play in just 78 games as he was suffering from a lingering hamstring injury, although when on the field he would continue to impress, batting .272 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs.

In 2014, Ramos broke his hand on opening day, causing him to miss almost half of the season. In 88 games, he batted .267 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs.

In what is considered his first full season, Ramos struggled tremendously, batting just .229 in a career high 475 at-bats. The Nationals would sign Ramos to a one-year deal just shy of $5.5 million in order to avoid arbitration.

2016 was Ramos’ breakout year, as in 131 games, he would bat .307 with 22 home runs 80 RBIs. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to another torn ACL, although he still managed win the National League Silver Slugger award.

The Nationals decided to let the injured Ramos walk in free agency, so the 29-year-old Ramos chose to sign a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

2017 season

Ramos’ 2017 campaign didn’t begin until June 24, as he was still rehabbing from his second torn ACL. In 64 games, Ramos would bat .260 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs. Over a 162-game sample size, Ramos would have been on pace to hit 27 home runs with 88 RBIs. I understand he has never, and may never, play in more than 135 games, although it is important to understand his offensive potential when healthy.

2018 outlook

Wilson Ramos fantasy

Wilson Ramos is a top-10 catcher offensively, and I would love to have him on my roster in 2018.  (Photo: Getty Images)

Ramos spent the majority of the season batting fifth, sixth and seventh in the Rays lineup, so we can assume he will bat primarily in the second third of the lineup in 2018. The Rays lineup is interesting, as they ranked sixth in home runs with 226 and sixth to last in batting average at .245. The Rays were also the only team in the MLB to have more home runs than doubles.

It is clear that a healthy Ramos can help balance this offense out. I expect Ramos to play in no more than 135 games, although I do anticipate him to bat above .270 with at least 40 extra base hits. When healthy, Ramos is a top-10 catcher offensively, and I would love to have him on my roster in 2018.



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What Can We Expect from Super Prospect Yoan Moncada?

September is a big month for the MLB. The last full month of the regular season, teams in contention battle for playoff sports, while teams in the cellars of each division get the opportunity to give some of their prospects MLB experience. September 1 is huge for most teams as rosters expand from twenty-five players to the full forty man roster. This gives each MLB team room for more rest for the regular starters, or provide extra relief in a bullpen that has been hammering out innings for the past five months.

One such example of this is the Boston Red Sox promoting Yoan Moncada Friday in lieu of the roster expansions. The Red Sox are currently only using 39 of their 40 roster spots. The Red Sox also have four catchers on their roster, along with a handful of bench depth guys that the team can designate for assignment to clear room for Moncada. Getting Yoan to the big leagues will not be an issue for the Red Sox.

One issue for the Sox, however, could be trying to control the insurmountable hype that will surround Moncada as he makes his first couple major league appearances. Moncada signed with the Red Sox out of Cuba for a record $31.5 million (Aroldis Chapman held the previous record at $16.25 million). Moncada is ranked number one on both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospect Ranking lists, backed by his season and a half in the farm system. The hype is real for Moncada, as his production and potential screams a generational talent that most teams would salivate getting the opportunity to build around. An example of this talent can be seen in the GIF below.


Yoan Moncada knocking himself in on an inside the park homerun during his time in the minors. No, this gif is not sped up, that is just how fast he is.

Yoan Moncada knocking himself in on an inside the park homerun during his time first couple months in the minors last season. No, this gif is not sped up, that is just how fast he runs. GIF courtesy of


Moncada has demonstrated plenty of talent in his season and a half in the minor for the Red Sox. In 187 games, Moncada has compiled 94 stolen bases, a slash line of .287/.395/.480 (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage), and a slow but steady improving glove as he has been shifted from second base to third base. Moncada is only 21 years of age, and is projected to start adding power as he adds more muscle mass to his frame. Moncada will have a floor of 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases annually. The ceiling on Moncada, however, is astronomical. I would compare his potential production to Alfonso Soriano in his prime, or a regular 30+ homerun and 30+ stolen base player, if the power comes around for Moncada.

The ceiling is very high for a player like Moncada, but can we expect that kind of production when he makes his first couple appearances? Short answer, no we cannot. Moncada, despite being a switch hitter with a career batting average of .287, has a K rate of 30.9% and a .246 batting average in 45 games in Double A right now. What this means is Moncada is a little unpolished of a hitter as he has faced stiffer competition. Moncada is only 21 years old, so the Red Sox can give him another season or two before giving him full-time duties, though the ideal plan would be for him to be ready by Opening Day 2017.

The nice thing for the Red Sox is that playing time will be a given for Moncada, as the only true competition he faces is from the incumbent Travis Shaw, who has cooled off significantly since his hot April. Shaw owns a .248 batting average this season and has never been a source of power for the Sox. The lack of hitting from Shaw means that Moncada will have a longer leash while playing, or in other words, does not have to worry about not hitting well since the Red Sox have limited options to replace him.

The future is bright for young Yoan Moncada. Photo courtesy of Brynn Anderson of the AP

The future is bright for young Yoan Moncada. Photo courtesy of Brynn Anderson of the AP

Moncada is a player who is surrounded by a lot potential and hype ever since his record breaking signing in 2015. Rough around the edges, the Red Sox are giving him the chance to be an everyday third basemen for the club, as the only other potential starter has been less than stellar so far this season. If he produces anywhere close to his ceiling, the Red Sox will have added a very good complimentary piece for their potential playoff run. If Moncada continues his K% rate from the minors, then the Sox do not miss out on any production that they could have gotten from elsewhere. It is a perfect scenario for the Red Sox and only time will tell whether Moncada will be an integral piece for the playoff run or, at the very least, will just be gaining some valuable MLB experience.


All stats courtesy of baseball reference and fangraphs.