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Scouting Video: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake (2012 Draft)

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May 30, 2012

Max Fried is seen here in Max-a-palooza, three different clips: Spring 2012, Area Codes 2011, Aflac or whatever it’s called nowadays, 2011. Hey look, you want the working arm, the arm speed, the curveball, the physical projection, then this is your guy. But I want to see him in a different setting now before I decide what kind of pro or big leaguer he’s going to be, because he never proved that to me in all the looks I saw of him. I’ve seen him micro-manage his starts, I’ve seen a guy with great stuff look bad. Then he’s had some very good starts I haven’t seen, frankly, because I got sick of going out to see him because I didn’t want to waste my day if he was going to come out and not be his best. I don’t want to hear about any mind games, I don’t care about “imagining yourself on the mound,” I care about guys who show me start after start what they are made of. I don’t need the radar gun anymore. So we’ll see. I’ve said this before — these big arms, these guys gotta show me enough as kids so I can dream about what kind of guys they are going to be. Amateur baseball is for kids. Pro ball is for grown men. Which one will it be. Somebody will pay a few million to find out.  (more…)

Scouting Video: Lucas Giolito & Max Fried (2012 Draft)

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May 23, 2012

Lucas Giolito and Max Fried are seen here joined at the hip one last time, throwing flat out on the backfields. They actually both grab for the same ball on the last throw back. Talk about two dogs after the same bone. Hey all you Harvard-Westlake people, do me a solid and buy my books. I mean, come on, who else do you know covered Austin, Gio and Fried as much and as well as I did. Help out a brother. One for Dad and one for the kid. Trust me, it’s worth it. Hardcover or e-copy, don’t matter. I’m writing for Thomas Dunne Books/St.Martin’s Press/MacMillan these days, straight up 175 Fifth Avenue New York, when I’m not tapping away at this goofy little site. 

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Scouting Video: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (2012 Draft)

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April 24, 2012

Max Fried has pretty much everything you want in your top-shelf high school left-handers. The height, the arm strength, the size, the stuff. What he needs is to develop consistency and to not take the mound like he is afraid to get hit. That’s a tough love statement but its true — in more recent looks, he has shown the ability to put that aside and shove baseballs where the sun don’t shine. Then in other looks he pitches like a guy afraid of his own shadow.

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Top 12 with Video on the Compton Countdown: #4, Max Fried

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March 13, 2012

Number 4 on the Compton Countdown, it’s a philosophical pick: left-handed pitcher or raw power. Teenage lefty who can touch 94-95 and pitch at 91-93 or bat speed kids with raw power.

I love pitching, I do, I really do, but can you name me 10 guys in the major leagues with plus, plus raw power? Good, neither can I.

Therefore, Max, who on some lists in SoCal this year is probably two, goes four for me on this list. And it’s still rough, because I like Fried. But let me explain how I think and understand that I think the top four guys on this list are all going to be major league regulars.

It’s gutty and even risky and probably an unconventional pick in this industry, but it’s fine by me. I gotta have hitters with raw power in an age of pitchers. I just do. This is a damn good pitching draft and there are very, very few hitters I have seen who are major league regulars with power for me. Hey, I’m sorry, blame my old boy Bob Zuk for teaching me to respect power when I see it. (Alas, he wanted Ryan Klesko and got cross-checked into some other dude instead. Damn, Bob was pissed.)

I have to go with the raw power at 3 and 2, which means Max Fried slips to 4 in this itty bitty little countdown which makes great content but really means a whole lot of nothing.

And this reminds me, I never used to do lists on this site, why did I start now? Serioulsy, preference lists inside the baseball industry are savage — draft table discussions are brutally honest and cut-throat. Machiavelli could be in some draft rooms and say, “Damn, guys, take it easy.” I hate rankings because it makes me say why I don’t like players, which I HATE doing. So this is it. From now on, I’m keeping all my rankings in-house.

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Scouting Update: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake (2012 Draft)

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February 28, 2012

In Max Fried’s first start of the high school season, he flashed some velocity in an otherwise pedestrian first inning, then came back with a power second inning and went out to re-establish his curveball in the third inning.

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2012 Draft Pitching Prospects at MLSB Showcase

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February 13, 2012

A fine Saturday was had at Major League Baseball’s Dominican Republic facility in South Los Angeles. I took some time away from my duties editing my “Bushville Wins!” typeset pages from my publisher, St. Martin’s, to put on the old scouting hat and go see what the Disco Dan Spectacular had in store for us here in 2012.

My first comment is that 2012 is vastly better than 2011. I’m glad, because last year nearly crushed my will to live. I mean, there are guys starting at schools in the Pac-10 as freshman who weren’t invited to this thing last year, so I always enter the thing with a little bit of a grain of salt and half a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich to get me through. And I don’t have black wingtip shoes on, so I know I’m not an agent, and none of the kids are mine, so I know I’m not a dad. I’m not even a snarky shrimpy scouty sniffer type. Hey, look at me. Man of the people.

OK, my usual social commentary aside, here’s the deal. It’s a good year for right-handed pitching. It’s an OK year for defense at the skill positions. Save for one dude, there is virtually no raw power. There’s not a whole lot of speed to go around. There are only a few hitters I would really feel confidant dreaming on at the major league level. In other words, it’s a pretty typical year save for a few real obvious prospects and the right-handed depth.

What I’m going to do in these two stories is recount everyone I saw. I have notes on everyone and I have tons of video. I’m going to depart from the norm and do a top 10 prospects list off this thing, but not here. This is to encourage new readership, since many people find us for the first time because of coverage of events like this.

We will run a top 10 list, forthcoming, with video, in the coming days.

And as for the new readers, kids and families and fans, etc. – yes, this is how I write this site. I absolutely play no favorites like the pay-to-play world does, though I often am harder on guys I like the most. Yes, I do enjoy my voice. Just don’t crush my will to live. Thanks.

First the pitchers, in no special order:

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Notes from the 2011 Petco Park Game

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August 14, 2011

The way I figured it, I had three group 1 pitchers, nine group 2 pitchers and seven group 3 pitchers. Since I’m borrowing from the pro structure, I’ll say that your group 1 guys are expected to be major league front-end rotation starters, your group 2 guys should be middle rotation starters or potential closers, and your group 3 guys are fringy college guys, roster fillers, bullpen types, and eventually employable yet interchangeable arms.

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2011 Area Code Games Day 2

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August 6, 2011

I like Max Fried’s name. Namely because I can play with it – is it “freed,” as in, I would have been freed at 7 if they hadn’t stretched the last game of the night to nine innings – or is it, “fried,” as in, I am fried after digging through prospects. I’m not sure.

I can say that Fried, who might be coming to a High School near you, improved significantly since I saw him here last summer. Thinner, taller, smoother and you can’t give a guy a breaking ball. Another Southern California lefty, Kyle Twomey is smooth and sneaky fast, which is what it says on my scouting cards, but could also be the name of a band. And a couple of California right-handers, Chase De Jong and Justin Garza, get results in different ways – one guy growing into his arm and the other sneaky quick.

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2012 sneak peek Scouting Videos: Max Fried, LHP, Montclair Prep (2012 Draft)

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December 23, 2010

Max Fried is seen here in the summer between his sophomore and his junior year. You can see the arm speed, but also the inconsistencies in his delivery that hinder his velocity, off-speed stuff and control. Now that said, this is pretty typical of left-handers at this stage of the deal. I hate to keep bringing up Henry Owens, but he had many of the same things to work past just a few years ago. At this stage, college and pro scouts alike just want the arm speed and the arm power. They can add the polish later. In my notes, Fried was 85-89 and I felt his 73-75 curveball was his best pitch, showing proper 12/6 rotation and bite. The change-up was seen in flashes — a good one I recorded at 73, a fringe one I recorded at 78. His college commitment is to UCLA and he’s part of what is shaping up as a very strong year for Southern California high school left-handers in 2012.

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Area Codes Game 6: Crick clicks, Henry helps himself

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August 7, 2010

The player who helped himself the most in this look was outfielder Desmond Henry (Centennial, Los Angeles). Always a gifted athlete who had quick-muscle actions but had the look of a kid learning the ropes as a ballplayer, he hit three balls hard in this game, including two to center field that were his best two hard contacts of this game. The best ball was a double up against the base of the wall near the 400 mark. Showed eagerness and aggressiveness, he tried for third but was thrown out on a strong throw from Texas second baseman C.J. McElroy.

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