Erick Fedde admitted he experienced a wide range of emotions five weeks ago when he learned that he would need to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his valuable right arm.
“Obviously I was very disappointed,” the hard-throwing 6-foot-4, 180-pound junior, considered a likely Top 10 pick in the MLB Draft prior to the injury, said. “But I also tried to look at it as a bump in the road. I was just hoping that a team would still take a chance on me.”
Fedde got that wish Thursday night when the Washington Nationals used the 18th pick of the first round to select him.
“I had no clue that they were taking me,” Fedde, who watched the draft with his family and a few friends at his home in Las Vegas, said. “I had a tough time sleeping last night. I tried not to look at all the different mock drafts. I was watching TV and waiting for the news like everybody else which made it all the more exciting when they did announce it.”
Fedde, who compiled an 8-2 record and 1.76 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings while earning Mountain West Pitcher of the Year honors this year, will join a Washington team that has some strong southern Nevada ties.
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Fedde was a Las Vegas High School teammate his sophomore year of current Nationals’ star Bryce Harper, the first overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft. UNLV head coach Tim Chambers also coached Harper when he was the head coach at the College of Southern Nevada in 2010. And Washington is managed by former Rebels star Matt Williams, a first round pick in 1986.
Fedde underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. He said he will begin rehabbing in about a week but won’t be allowed to begin throwing for six to eight months.
“I’m not sure where I’ll be rehabbing,” he said. “That will be up to (the Nationals).”
Washington had been strongly rumored to be leaning toward drafting Fedde in multiple mock drafts this week. The Nationals and GM Mike Rizzo drafted Lucas Giolito, now starring at single-A Hagerstown (Md.), with the 16th overall pick in 2012 despite knowing he would require elbow surgery. And current starters Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann have also made successful comebacks from Tommy John surgery.
Being a mid-first round pick figures to bring a nice payday to Fedde. He is being advised by Scott Boras, who has had a strong relationship with the Nationals. The assigned pick value for the No. 18 pick designated by the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement is $2,145,600 although teams are not bound by that figure. There is minimal wiggle-room, however, because a bonus that goes over that figure can be taxed by 75 percent and anything five percent higher than that figure triggers the loss of future draft picks.
The first three picks of what is considered a deep and pitching-strong draft were pitchers.
Houston, choosing first for the third straight year, opened things up by selecting Brady Aiken, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound left-hander from Cathedral Catholic High in San Diego who has drawn comparisons to both Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw and another San Diego area product, Cole Hamels of the Phillies.
The Miami Marlins followed by taking another hard-throwing prep pitcher, 6-foot-5, 245-pound right-hander Tyler Kolek of Shepherd (Texas) High School who has reportedly touched 102 miles per hour on the radar gun.
North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon became the first college player picked when the Chicago White Sox took him with the third pick. The Cubs then took the first position player of the draft, Indiana University catcher Kyle Schwarber while the Minnesota Twins closed out the top five by taking shortstop Nick Gordon of Olympia High in Orlando, Fla., the son of former major league closer Tom “Flash” Gordon and the brother of current Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon.
Truly blessed to be picked by such an amazing organization! Can't wait to be back on the field to show they made a great decision #Nationals
— Fedde (@ErickFedde) June 6, 2014