WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Erick Fedde wasn't sure if he was going to be a first-round pick. In shock after learning that he needed the procedure, Fedde realized his stock took a hit after he had Tommy John surgery this past Tuesday.
As it turned out, Fedde was a first-round pick, taken by the Nationals with the 18th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday. The 21-year-old is aware of the history of Tommy John surgeries. A lot of pitchers, including Nats ace Stephen Strasburg, these days recover from the procedure and become productive on the mound.
"In terms of the Draft, I realized that I was going to take a hit," Fedde said. "I didn't know how high I was going to go, but I'm just ecstatic that the Nationals took me. I'm just excited to be part of the organization."
Before the surgery, which was performed by Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Fedde had a great final season for UNLV, going 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts. He also had 82 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. Scouting director Kris Kline compared Fedde to former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell.
"He doesn't throw anything straight, a lot of life, above-average slider up to 88 [mph]," Kline said. "He has the makings and flashes of an above-average changeup. He throws a lot of strikes, is a competitive guy."
Fedde said his changeup was a difference-maker this year.
"Before the injury, I felt very comfortable with it. It can be a weapon in the near future," Fedde said.
Fedde is a graduate of Las Vegas High School, where he played alongside Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. Fedde is pleased to be reunited with Harper. The two have been friends since they were little kids playing T-ball in Las Vegas, and Fedde admits that Harper was a cut above everybody else who played.
"It's really cool, especially for our family and friends," Fedde said about being reunited with Harper. "Now to be part of the same organization is pretty cool. We can share experiences now."
But Fedde has to be signed and recovered from his elbow reconstruction surgery first. Fedde is not worried about getting signed, and he believes everything will work itself out.
"I'm just worried about getting healthy and go from there," he said. "The arm hurts a little. But's it's not too bad. I'm not sure about the whole recovery process. I go back [and see the doctor] on Thursday to get the cast and stitches out. Hopefully, it will be about a year when I'm back on the mound."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.