POSITION: Right-handed relief pitcher
BORN ON: August 29, 1985
AGE: Will be 22 for most of the 2008 season
BORN IN: St. Paul, Minnesota
LIVES IN: Mankato, Minnesota
SCHOOL: Minnesota State - Mankato
ACQUIRED: Selected by the Braves in the 12th round of the June 2007 amateur draft
SIGNED BY: Stu Cann
STATISTICSClick here for Fellman's 2007 Danville stats
SCOUTING REPORTNick Fellman had a great season for Minnesota State – Mankato last spring. He was 3-1 in 24 games with a 1.62 ERA. Fellman allowed 19 hits in 33.1 innings, seven walks, and 50 strikeouts, with 14 saves. The right-hander led Division II in 2006 with 18 saves.
The Braves selected him in the 12th round and sent him to Danville, where he became the team's closer. Fellman was spectacular, going 1-0 in 22 games with a 2.25 ERA. He allowed 16 hits in 28 innings, only seven earned runs, seven walks, and 46 strikeouts. His 16 saves led the Appalachian League.
Fellman just cruised through his first taste of pro ball. He was practically perfect, so much so that the Braves even placed him in a few tough situations with men on base just to see how he'd do, and he'd strike out the side.
Fellman has a solid fastball that is in the 87-90 mph range, and he would reach back at times and hit 91, but that wasn't consistent. Hitters did not take very good swings at his fastball last season, even though it was not overpowering.
But it's his breaking stuff that made him special. Fellman has an outstanding slider, which has two speeds, and he has a great feel for when to throw it. Fellman locates the pitch very well.
Fellman's delivery, and his changeup, reminded some last year of Trevor Hoffman. He has a good feel of what the hitters are looking for and throwing something else. Last season he pretty much threw what he wanted to throw where he wanted it and when he wanted it. Fellman was that dominating. While Fellman has a closer's mentality, some even wondered if he should be a starter with the quality breaking pitches.
2008 OUTLOOKWill the Braves be tempted to place Fellman in the Rome rotation, or at least in a piggyback situation, to see if he can be a starter? Well, maybe, but his success as a closer last season has to have them interested if he can continue to dominate in that role. Rome will already have so many starters battling for positions that it would seem unlikely Fellman could be fit in there.
So if he is left in the bullpen, he'll either go to Rome or even push for time in Myrtle Beach. The Braves usually like to see their prospects be challenged a bit, and there was no doubt that Fellman went unchallenged last season in Danville. So might the Braves push him into the Carolina League? Chances are he'll begin the season in Rome, unless he just really impresses in March at Spring Training.
ADDITIONAL STORY LINKSFellman's bio at Minnesota State - Mankato
Fellman's bio with the Danville Braves
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.