Max Fried isn’t projected to factor into the San Diego Padres’ rotation plans until sometime during the 2016 season, but that doesn’t mean that the organization won’t take measures to ensure that they can keep him healthy. Following a long toss session earlier this month Fried reported some soreness in his forearm, resulting in an MRI exam on February 11th which did not reveal any damage. The team will remain cautious and Fried has been shut down for at minimum the next two weeks, according to Dennis Lin at the Union-Tribune.
The 7th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, the now 20 year old spent the 2013 season with San Diego’s Class-A affiliate where he made 23 starts. Fried would post a 3.49 ERA and 1.374 WHIP over 118.2 IP. He’d entered the 2013 season already ranked among the top prospects in the game, checking in at #46 on Baseball America’s pre-2013 Top 100 rankings. A year later he’s dropped back to #53 on this year’s rankings, though that’s largely due to an influx of new names who’ve jumped into/onto this list. BA still views his future with high regard:
Fried has the pitch quality and the projection to become a frontline starter in San Diego. His next step is to challenge hitters more frequently in the strike zone.
Maintaining Fried’s health long term is naturally going to be important to the Padres. The organization has remained inconsistent in recent years with regards to supplementing their roster from within with homegrown talent. Fried is as talented an arm as they’ve had in their system for some time now. Keeping him on the shelf for a few weeks as a precaution now could prove to be beneficial down the line.
Even the most aggressive projections had Fried beginning the season at High-A, perhaps with a jump to Double-A by midseason.