Age on Opening Day 2016: 23
How acquired: 1st round pick, 2014 draft
Position: Starting pitcher
Prospect Rank: No. 4 in Nats' org. (Baseball America)
2015 Level/Team: NYPL-Auburn, A-Hagerstown
2015 Stats: (two teams) 3.38 ERA, 14 G, 14 GS, 64 IP, 62 H, 30 R, 24 ER, 2 HR, 16 BB, 59 SO, 4 HBP, 3 WP, 1.219 WHIP, 1-2, 7.1 SO/9, 2.88 K/BB
2015 Analysis: Erick Fedde returned this season from the Tommy John surgery he had just before he was drafted by the Nationals back in June of 2014. After a year-long recovery, Fedde made his professional debut on June 21 with the short-season Auburn Doubledays.
Fedde's debut was a little rocky, as he allowed one earned run on two hits and three walks in three innings. But Fedde quickly found his groove and ended up with a 2.57 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 35 innings in eight starts at Auburn. After allowing three walks in his first start with the Doubledays, he surrendered only five over his last seven outings.
That set Fedde up for a promotion to Single-A Hagerstown in August. Fedde made his Suns debut on Aug. 11 and again found trouble in his first going. He gave up six earned runs on five hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings against the Augusta GreenJackets. That one day inflated his numbers at Hagerstown overall, as he was excellent over his final five starts.
Fedde moved past his debut to hold a 2.92 ERA in his final five outings to close the season. He struck out 20 batters in 24 2/3 innings and kept opponents to a .213/.283/.315 slash line. All in all, it was a solid first season for Fedde, who remains one of the most promising prospects in the Nationals' organization.
2016 Outlook: Fedde is likely to start the 2016 season in Single-A, perhaps at High-A Potomac. It will be a big year for the right-hander, who will reach the second anniversary of his Tommy John surgery in May. This season should be one where he can build a foundation of innings to set himself up for a very important 2017.
Fedde could see a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg this season if all goes well in the first few months. That would be the logical sequence for the former first round pick. The question will become at what point does his season get shut down due to innings.
Lucas Giolito is a good comparison model to follow. He had his Tommy John surgery just two years prior and, like Fedde, his was performed in the middle of the season. The Nats had Giolito go 36 2/3 innings in his first season back, then jump to 98 innings. Fedde will likely be capped around 100 innings this season and be in line to go to the 120 to 140 range the following year.
It's hard to project Fedde's MLB future before 2016, which will determine plenty. But if he continues to progress and has a strong year, it is not inconceivable think he will be major league ready in 2017. He does turn 23 in February, which means he will be 24 on Opening Day 2017.