Fried dazzles in one-hit Fall League start

Braves No. 9 prospect was perfect through four frames

Fried dazzles in one-hit Fall League start

A strong outing from Javelinas starting pitcher Max Fried, the Braves' No. 9 prospect, led Peoria to a 6-2 victory over the Salt River Rafters Monday afternoon.

Fried pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out four Rafters. All four of his strikeouts came on swing-and-misses, three of them with a four-seam fastball that Fried established early and used to retire the majority of the hitters he faced.

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The fastball wasn't the only pitch that was working for Fried, as the 23-year-old had command of his entire repertoire. The southpaw was perfect through four innings, and none of the 12 outs he recorded to open the contest caused the Javelinas' defense much trouble, beyond a sharp lineout to right to start the fourth.

"It was big to get my change-up and my curveball over the plate for strikes when I was behind in the count," Fried said. "I felt like I was trying to nit-pick a little bit on the sides, and decided that I just wanted to throw some off-speed pitches down the middle to get me back into counts and just work off that rhythm."

Fried also showed impressive poise under pressure when he found himself in a tight spot in the bottom half of the fifth. Rockies No. 14 prospect Brian Mundell's leadoff double ended his perfect outing, which was followed by a walk to put runners on first and second with nobody out. But Fried was able to manage the situation by inducing Jake Gatewood, the Brewers' No. 18 prospect, to ground into a double play. Fried escaped the inning damage-free thanks to a pick off throw to third base by his catcher Alex Jackson, the Braves' No. 16 prospect, with Brewers No. 2 prospect Corey Ray at the plate.

"I just wanted to get a ground-ball," Fried said. "I fell behind a little bit, 3-1, and just tried to make a good quality pitch at the bottom of the zone. Fortunately for me, I got a ground ball, and it went to a guy who made a really nice play."

A dominant outing in the Arizona Fall League is exactly what Fried needed to continue to prove he belongs at the Major League level. Fried made his Major League debut with the Braves on Aug. 8 against the Phillies, and ended up making four starts in 11 appearances, posting a 3.81 ERA over 26 innings.

"After the rough year that I had, I was able to focus in and really just feel like I got my confidence back," Fried said. "I felt like I was able to compete up here, and I felt like I was throwing the ball really well. I wanted to come in here and just keep it going, just keep attacking guys, and make the defense work."

In two appearances for the Javelinas, Fried has pitched eight scoreless innings and given up only four hits, while recording 11 strikeouts and yielding only two walks.

"Honestly, I'm just trying to ride out what I was doing at the end of the year," Fried said. "I'm trying to go after guys and trust my stuff, and fortunately for me, I'm getting things to go my way."

Andy Krauss is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.