Max Fried is the top prep left-hander in the draft, and probably comes in ahead of Andrew Heaney as the best left-handed pitcher in the draft this year. Fried is an above average athlete, and at 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, he has a highly projectable frame. Scouts vary on his fastball velocity, but most of the reports that I have read on him have him listed between 88-94. His fastball features nice arm-side run, and he also mixes in a curveball that flashes plus potential with good downward break, but at times he is inconsistent with the pitch. He also has a good feel for his changeup, but it is a pitch that he hasn't needed a whole lot at the high school level.
Fried's stock had been rumored to take a slight dive recently as their were reports of him losing velocity and having trouble with command in his previous two playoff outings. However he rebounded nicely in his next start and his velocity sat in the 90-95 range throughout the outing and also struck out ten.
With other high school arms the injury concern is there with him. As a lefty right now that is seen with a lot of tools and projectability, there is the chance that he doesn't develop as expected and never makes it out of the minors. If his velocity remains inconsistent, or sits at the lower end of his projected range, and the command issues continue to pop up from time to time then he could struggle as a starter.
Fried has all the makings as a No. 2 starter in the majors with three above-average to plus pitches depending on how he develops. As his body continues to develop the velocity and command should become more consistent which is why expectations are so high for the young left-hander. He seems to have decent pitching mechanics which should limit some of the injury concern as well.
Projected Draft Round
Max Fried is projected to be drafted in the first round. Baseball America had him going seventh to the Padres in their latest mock draft, and Keith Law had him going ninth to the Marlins.
Will the Astros draft him
Its highly unlikely since he really isn't a candidate for the first overall pick and wouldn't last until the supplemental rounds.
Will he sign
Fried has a strong committment to UCLA, but is expected to get drafted high enough in the first round to lure him away from college.
Bibliography after the jump
He'll pitch at 89-93 with little effort and very good life to his arm side (albeit less to his glove side). Hitters don't pick the ball up out of his hands, helping it play above his velocity. Fried's curveball, while not completely consistent, can show very sharp downward break in the 73-76 mph range, ocassionally getting slurvy up towards 77-78. He has great feel for his 81-83 mph changeup with deception from his arm speed and late run (harder than the usual fade on a changeup).
Fried is a fastball—curveball--changeup southpaw with projection in his 6-foot-4, 170-pound frame and a present fastball that has hit 94 mph. He's part of UCLA's tremendous recruiting class but is a good bet to go in the top half of the first round.
Baseball Prospect Nation
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.