MadFriars Interview: Max Fried

FORT WAYNE - We caught up with 2012 first-round pick Max Fried after his start Thursday evening to get his thoughts on his first full year in the system. The 20-year-old lefty from Los Angeles has shown flashes of the ability that earned him recognition as the top lefty in the minors this offseason, but has struggled to find the consistency he'll need as he advances through the system.

It looked like you were struggling to get comfortable on the mound Thursday night?

Max Fried: It was just one of those things where, it was a mixture of a little bit of the weather, and it was just one of those nights where it really didn't feel right. It was a really big help to have a couple great plays out there behind me to give me some confidence that might have been low.

In a game like that, is it hard for you to find a rhythm and pace?

Max Fried: It's been one of the challenges this year, to develop a rhythm and find something that's going to keep me going game in and game out.

At the time of the draft, your change wasn't considered a strength, but it looks like you've turned it into an effective pitch this year.

Max Fried: That was one of the big things I wanted to improve on in the offseason and spring training. I really focused on it – I might have focused a little bit too much on it. My curve ball's not as on point as I'd like it to be, but to have another weapon when one pitch isn't working has really been a benefit to me and something I'm really happy I can go to in any count. I have no problems throwing to lefties or righties, hitters' counts or when I'm ahead. It's something I've been able to develop.

In high school, you were an adherent of Alan Jaeger's long-toss program. Are you still working on that through the season?

Max Fried: Yeah. I'm starting to cut it down a little bit – it's starting to tax on me – but for the most part, I stick with the long-toss program listening to how my body feels and what my arm feels like. I don't really ever max it out, it's just for stretching it out, but I'll do that on bullpen day and game days.

Looking at your first full year in the system, what have been your highlights and the biggest areas to focus on?

Max Fried: Obviously, in the first half, my walk rate was way too high. I haven't had an outing yet this year when I haven't walked someone, so that's still something I'm going towards. I need to focus and be consistent, that's something I haven't been lately.

With the transition to pro ball, have you found a way to avoid dwelling on things that go wrong and stay with the day-to-day grind of the season?

Max Fried: That's a big thing for me in the beginning of the year. I was overthinking on the mound. One thing I've been trying to do lately is really just breathing and focusing on the next pitch, not the last pitch.

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