Now armed with a second breaking pitch the slider, Fried pushed his changeup further to the periphery at just 2.4% (12.1% in 2018). Sitting just under 85 mph and returning a relatively non-descript 25% whiff rate, the changeup is just a residual piece of Fried’s arsenal and one that we may see even less of next year.
Fried burst on to the scene somewhat surprisingly in Atlanta, netting 17 wins (2nd in the NL). His slow 74.5 mph curve drops with fierce bite, averaging a ridiculous 69.6 inches of vertical movement, a whopping 12% above average. With a 41.7 K% and minuscule 1.8 BB% it is a go-to swing and miss pitch.
Fried’s fastball gained about half a tick this year as it sat just under 94 mph. It’s a well below-average fastball in terms of spin rate (12th percentile). Fried’s fastball has a surprisingly high upper limit as we saw it max out at an incredibly impressive 98.8 mph this past season. Overall, though, it was victimized to the tune of a .361 xwOBA and .316 batting average allowed.
If the curve is tasty, Fried’s new slider is downright delicious. We didn’t see it in 2018 but it was a Money Pitch this year recording a 40.9% O-Swing%, a 42% Zone rate, and a 15.3% whiff rate. It also limited hitters to an impressive .200 batting average. It’s deceptiveness emanates from 12.7 inches of break, a league leading 6.9 inches above the average for horizontal movement. Watch and admire.
Fried has been using his fastball primarily to generate ground balls. In 2018, he has continued to do so while invoking less contact and more strikeouts.
Fried’s curveball is his out pitch. Generating massive vertical movement, this pitch is nearly untouchable with a 20% whiff rate and 63.6% strikeout rate.
Not used often for good reason, Fried’s changeup does get batters to whiff every so often. However, most of the contact results in a hit.