July 28, 2017
The Situation: Stephen Strasburg’s latest mystery elbow problem has landed him on the 10-day DL. He’s only expected to miss one start, but the Nationals have called up their top remaining pitching prospect, Erick Fedde, to take the turn.
Background: Once a candidate to go in the top few picks of the 2014 Draft, Fedde underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL just days before the start of the draft. Owing to his considerable talent and the Nationals’ willingness to gamble on injured higher-end talent in the draft, Fedde still went 18th overall and signed for a little over $2.5 million, about $365,000 over the slot value.
Fedde made his pro debut in the summer of 2015 in short-season A-ball, and the Nationals have moved him relatively cautiously, giving him at least a half-dozen starts at each level of the minors up to Triple-A. He spent much of this May and June throwing out of the bullpen in preparation for a potential MLB stretch run role there, but was moved back into the Triple-A rotation at the beginning of the month as Washington’s starting pitching depth eroded. We ranked Fedde 5th, 6th, and 5th in our organizational rankings from 2015-2017, and slotted him as the 62nd-best prospect in baseball before this season.