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Braves prospect Max Fried struggles, but still impresses in Arizona Fall League

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Max Fried did not have his best stuff Friday, but his ability to bounce back was impressive.

Max Fried pitches in Arizona Fall League
Shaun P Kernahan

Atlanta Braves pitching prospect Max Fried finally showed he is human on Friday in the Arizona Fall League, giving up four runs in the first inning (three earned) and another on a solo home run from Dodgers prospect D.J Peters in the fourth. Coming into the game, Fried was tied for the lead in wins this fall with three and leading the league in strikeouts with 23. He had only given up a single all fall until the first on Friday, and the four total earned runs on the day “skyrocketed” his ERA from 0.47 to 1.96.

In the first his command was troublesome, bouncing many curveballs and showing a lack of feel for it. He kept with it through the game though and wound up showing many very good curves and regularly using it early in counts to help him strike out six in his four innings, expanding his league lead in Ks.

This was Fried’s first start since being named the week 3 pitcher of the week and, while the box score doesn’t look good, he showed really good stuff at times. I did not have a gun on him but you could tell the fastball was beating guys possibly in large part due to his ability to throw the curve and change in any count as he allowed just two base runners in innings two through four, the home run to Peters and a single off the end of the bat of Indians highly touted prospect Francisco Mejia.

The change was thrown with very good arm speed and action out of the same 3/4 slot of his fastball with late dip that left many hitters out on their front foot. Once he gained the feel for his curve late in the first, it was nasty. The late bite had good left handed hitters bailing early for called strikes and righties swinging over it as it dove towards their feet.

In all it was actually a good showing from Fried, who battled through early command issues to still put in a strong four innings when Peoria actually had a relieve up before the first out of the game was recorded. He overcame not having his best stuff to limit the damage and show some really good poise on the mound and the ability to shut a team down once he hit his rhythm.

He did make his MLB debut this past season, and with the showing he has put in this Fall, he is making a strong case to be in consideration for the Braves opening day rotation.