UPDATE: Manager Dusty Baker confirmed after Wednesday’s game that Erick Fedde would get the start and Stephen Strasburg would head to the 10-day DL.
WASHINGTON — The Nationals rotation has taken a pair of hits recently, with Joe Ross and Stephen Strasburg both suffering injuries, and now they’ve made their first significant move to address those losses.
Per reports, Washington will call up top pitching prospect Erick Fedde, likely to make the start on Saturday in place of Strasburg.
Strasburg isn’t expected to miss much time, and there were hopes he would be back in time to make his Saturday start, but with bigger things in mind than a strong regular season, the Nationals aren’t eager to rush him back. Ross, on the other hand, will miss the remainder of the 2017 season and likely most or all of the 2018 season with a torn UCL.
Fedde is a 6-foot-4, 180-pound righty who came to the Nationals organization after being drafted with the 18th overall pick in 2014. He, like so many other Nationals pitchers, has already undergone and recovered from Tommy John surgery and would have gone much higher in the draft if not for the injury. But because of the recovery window, Fedde is only now making his debut, at 24 years old and more than three years after being drafted.
Like Bryce Harper, Fedde hails from the Las Vegas area. Harper, who just played in his fifth All-Star Game and has more than 3,000 major-league plate appearances, is just 132 days older than Fedde.
After Washington traded three of its top pitching prospects in order to acquire centerfielder Adam Eaton — Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning — Fedde was left as the organization’s top arm. He has a 3.04 ERA through 17 appearances (seven starts) in Double-A Harrisburg this season. Over 262.1 minor-league innings across all levels in three seasons, Fedde has a 3.36 ERA and 1.208 WHIP with 251 strikeouts and 66 walks.
Per MLB.com, Fedde is the Nationals’ top pitching prospect and No. 3 prospect overall, after outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto.