MAX Dorian FRIED
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   LHP
Home: N/A Team:   BRAVES
Height: 6' 4" Bats:   L
Weight: 190 Throws:   L
DOB: 1/18/1994 Agent: CAA
Uniform #: 54  
Birth City: Santa Monica, CA
Draft: Padres #1 - 2012 - Out of high school (CA)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2012 AZL AZL-Padres   10 17.2 14 17 6 9 0 0 0 0 1   3.57
2013 MWL FORT WAYNE   23 118.2 107 100 56 23 0 0 0 6 7   3.49
2014 MWL FORT WAYNE   2 5.2 7 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 1   4.76
2014 AZL AZL-Padres   3 5 8 8 3 3 0 0 0 0 0   5.40
2015 - DL - Tommy John                            
2016 SAL ROME   21 103 87 112 47 20 0 0 0 8 7   3.93
2017 IL GWINNETT   2 6 1 6 2 2 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2017 SL MISSISSIPPI   19 86.2 88 85 43 19 0 0 0 2 11   5.92
2017 NL BRAVES   9 26 30 22 12 4 0 0 0 1 1 0.286 3.81
2018 IL GWINNETT   13 66.1 66 71 30 13 0 0 0 2 6   4.61
2018 SL MISSISSIPPI   2 11.1 4 16 4 2 0 0 0 1 0   0.00
2018 NL BRAVES   14 33.2 26 44 20 5 0 0 0 1 4 0.224 2.94
2019 NL BRAVES $565.00 33 165.2 174 173 47 30 1 0 0 17 6 0.27 4.02
2020 NL BRAVES $216.00 11 56 42 50 19 11 0 0 0 7 0 0.211 2.25
2021 NL BRAVES $3,500.00 28 166 139 158 41 28 2 2 0 14 7 0.227 3.04
2022 NL BRAVES $6,600.00 1 3.1 8 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.471 10.80
2023 SAL ROME   1 3 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2023 IL GWINNETT   3 9 12 10 4 3 0 0 0 0 2   5.00
2023 NL BRAVES   14 77.2 70 80 18 14 1 1 0 8 1 0.242 2.55
2024 NL BRAVES   14 84 63 76 27 14 2 1 0 6 3 0.207 3.11
Today's Game Notes
  • May 22, 2024.  Max Fried has spent these past few weeks regularly flirting with no-hitters and reminding the baseball world why he will be one of next winter’s top free agents.

    Fried carried his latest no-hit bid into the sixth inning and benefited from three home runs as the Braves claimed a 9-2 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The veteran southpaw has kept his opponent hitless through the first five innings in three of his past five starts.

    “When he’s not doing well, he knows how to fix it really quick,” Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “He knows himself as a pitcher and he doesn’t try to do too much. I think those are the characteristics of an ace and he’s definitely an ace.”

    Fried validated this belief as he limited the Cubs to two runs -- one earned -- and three hits while becoming the first MLB pitcher to record two complete games this season. Two of the hits he surrendered were recorded in the eighth inning, with one of those being an infield single.

  • “I wanted to make it a point of emphasis to go after hitters, get early contact and be more of the aggressor, rather than trying to make the perfect pitch on the corners,” Fried said.

    Fried needed just 53 pitches to cruise through the first five innings in perfect fashion. His bid for history ended when Ian Happ began the sixth inning with a double. But the lefty still made it a night to remember as he tossed his second complete game within his past six starts.

    The Braves had a seven-run lead and Fried threw 96 pitches through the first eight innings. But manager Brian Snitker knew what it would mean to let his veteran finish what he started. He also took into account that Fried had thrown just 88 pitches during his last start and he’ll get an extra day of rest leading into Tuesday’s start against the Nationals.
     
    “He’s upfront with me,” Snitker said. “When he came out in the eighth, I talked to him and he said, ‘I feel great.’”
     
    Fried needed just nine more pitches to get through the ninth and put a bow on this 105-pitch effort. It wasn’t the Maddux (shutout with fewer than 100 pitches) he threw against the Marlins on April 23. But it was exactly what the Braves needed to rest the bullpen, which had been taxed by three straight starts of fewer than five innings prior to Monday’s doubleheader.
     
    “I pride myself on going deep into games,” Fried said. (M Bowman - MLB.com - May 22, 2024)
Personal
  • Fried is pronounced FREED.

  • In 2012, Fried graduated from Harvard Westlake High School in Encino, California, with a commitment to UCLA. In his senior year, he was 8-2 with a 2.02 ERA and 105 strikeouts against 29 walks and 43 hits allowed in 66 innings. And he was on the same team with RHP Lucas Giolito, the Nationals first round pick in June 2012.

  • Max was probably just 9 years old when he first saw the grainy, black-and-white footage of the legendary lefthander his father and brother spoke of—Sandy Koufax.

    "Growing up in Los Angeles, the name Sandy Koufax is always thrown around," said Fried. "I tried to learn as much as I could from watching film of Koufax. There isn't that much. I looked for any footage, anything I could get a hold of, just to see if I could see any aspects of pitching."

    Using film of Koufax as a source as he matured, Fried started to pick up on the nuances of his curve in particular.

    His older brother by nine years, Brandon, was a tremendous influence during his formative years as a pitcher. 

  • In 2012, Fried got drafted by the Padres (see Transactions below). 

  • In 2013, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Fried as the second-best prospect in the Padres' organization. He was at #3 in the winter before 2014 spring training.

    After being dealt to the Braves, he was rated as the third-best prospect in BA's Updated Braves Top 20 in 2015. And he was at #6 in the spring of 2016. He was at #10 in the winter before 2017 spring training. And in the winter before 2018 spring camp opened, Max was rated 8th-best prospect in the Braves' organization.

  • Fried was a member of the 2009 gold medal-winning USA 18th World Maccabiah Juniors baseball team.

  • Fried was a high school friend and competitor with Lucas Giolito, and many felt it was a legit question on who was the better pitcher in high school.

  • As every Braves player and coach made his way to the top of the long staircase leading to Wrigley Field's visitors' clubhouse after a 5-1 victory over the Cubs, they were greeted with a hug or handshake extended by a smiling Max, who was still basking in the thrill of notching his first Major League win.

    "I just wanted to say thank you," Fried said. "I can't do it alone."

    Showing some of that poise that intrigued scouts before he was taken with the No. 7 overall selection in the 2012 Draft, Fried was not adversely affected by the emotions that surrounded him as he progressed through his first big league start. He limited the defending World Series champions to one run over five innings and ended his outing by escaping a bases-loaded threat.

    "Fried and his real good friend [White Sox pitcher] Lucas Giolito, I call them the biggest geeks in the world," Braves third baseman Rio Ruiz said. "You never know if they're nervous or scared. They're so composed. Today he showed that and everybody else saw what he was capable of doing."

    Also freshly promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett, Ruiz tallied a career-best three RBIs in a series-finale victory. But he also indirectly provided some comfort for Fried via the strong bond the two have shared since they began playing on the same southern California travel team at 14 years old.

    "I've known Rio is an unbelievable player ever since I was 14," Fried said. "So it was really nice to being out there with someone comfortable like that to be able to share this experience with."  (Bowman - mlb.com - 9/3/2017)

  •  Giolito’s resurgence has been a topic of discussion among the White Sox faithful. The talented righthander has bounced back from a lackluster 2018 campaign with 14 wins and a sterling 3.20 ERA for 2019.

    Giolito credits his success to a revamped delivery established in the offseason. He admitted that he lacked consistency on the mound in 2018.

    “I was all over the place last year,” Giolito said. “I would fly open, and my arm would be late. The misses were really big, and I think I led the league in walks.”

    So, in January, he called his best friend and current Braves starter Max Fried for help. The former Harvard-Westlake High School teammates spent the offseason working out in Los Angeles. The duo trained in local facilities and played catch in parks. Giolito worked to routinely fix several aspects of his delivery. He used plyo balls and a core velocity belt in his training to sync his lower half and get more balanced on the mound.

    “I did towel drills, dry drills and gym work with wearing [the core velocity belt] sometimes," Giolito said. "It kind of gets your hips and legs in the position you want it to be.”

    A newfound balance helped Lucas focus on his arm slot. He shortened his delivery to mirror that of an infielder. “The biggest adjustment and one that everyone can see is the arm action,” Giolito said. “I used to be really long, and it was behind my back. Now it’s short and direct, kind of like an infielder.”

    The results have equaled success. Fried was impressed with Giolito’s development so far this season. “Revamping your whole entire delivery is not something that is easy,” Fried said. “It takes a lot of hard work and discipline. To see the hard work pay off, I couldn’t be happier.”

    Fried also credits Giolito’s confidence with helping him be more consistent overall this season. “I think a lot of it has to do with confidence and just going out there knowing he has a good chance to succeed,” Fried said. “When you have that confidence and belief in yourself, the possibilities are endless.” (Jaylon Thompson - MLB.com - August 31, 2019)

  • How three high school teammates became MLB stars

    A trio of Harvard-Westlake pitchers is already dominating in the Major Leagues right now. That's Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito and Max Fried. The three were teammates at Harvard-Westlake who all went on to be first-round draft picks. And all three had breakout seasons in 2019 for their respective big league clubs, the Cardinals, White Sox and Braves.

    This is what the three of them did last season (2019):

    Flaherty (age 23): 11-8, 2.75 ERA, 231 K, 196 IP

    Giolito (age 24): 14-9, 3.41 ERA, 228 K, 176.2 IP

    Fried (age 25): 17-6, 4.02 ERA, 173 K, 165 2/3 IP

    Flaherty finished fourth in National League Cy Young voting after a second half for the ages. His 0.91 ERA post-All-Star break was the second-best ever for a qualified starter (behind Jake Arrieta's 0.75 in 2015).

    Giolito went from having the worst ERA of any qualified starter in 2018 (6.13) to ranking among the AL leaders in 2019. He finished fifth in the AL ERA race and sixth in the AL Cy Young vote.

    And Fried showed in his first full season that he has the potential of a future ace, emerging as a key young starter in a playoff-bound Braves rotation alongside Mike Soroka. Not to mention that he has one of the prettiest curveballs this side of Clayton Kershaw. (David Adler - June 4, 2020)

  • 2021 Silver Slugger Award - Pitcher (First Win)

    Pitchers returned to hitting in 2021 after a one-year hiatus, and no NL hurler had more hits (15) than Fried. He batted .273 and posted a .322 on-base percentage over 67 plate appearances to become the first Atlanta pitcher since Mike Hampton (2003) to win a Silver Slugger Award.

  • July 2022: Fried was selected to the MLB All-Star Game.

  • Nov 16, 2022: Max will have to wait at least one more year to try to become the Braves’ first Cy Young Award winner since Tom Glavine in 2000.

    The Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara was announced as the unanimous winner of this year’s National League Cy Young Award. Fried finished second, while Julio Urías finished third in balloting conducted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

  • March 24, 2023: Fried will make his third Opening Day start for the Braves and begin his bid to improve on a season that resulted in him finishing second in last year’s National League Cy Young Award balloting. 

  • Nobody wins like Max Fried, the left-handed ace of the Atlanta Braves. In seven seasons, Fried is 62-26, a palindromic record that reads like a DJ Khaled anthem. All he does is win, win, win, no matter what. 

    There are 78 active major leaguers with at least 75 career decisions. Fried is the only one with a winning percentage over .700. He was 17-6 in 2019, his first full season. He’s been seven games over .500 in each of the four seasons since: 7-0, 14-7, 14-7, 8-1.

    It’s fashionable — and, in some ways, rational — to downplay a pitcher’s win-loss record. You can pitch well and lose, or pitch poorly and win. But when you’re 62-26, well …

    “At some point, when you keep doing it, there’s something there,” said Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves’ general manager. “He goes deep in the games, he throws strikes. He’s phenomenal — obviously.” 
    “I’ve never been a person that performed well when they chase stats,” Fried said. “My minor-league numbers aren’t very good, but the minor leagues, to me, is very much a showcase for your stuff and being able to put on a stat performance. And my whole life, I’ve just been extremely competitive and I enjoy winning. So when it got to being in the minor leagues, I felt like it was me trying to strike guys out and do all these other things, and I lost my main focus: we’re here to win the game.” 

    “He does a lot of little things: controlling the running game, fielding his position — all the peripheral things he’s really good at that winning pitchers do,” Snitker said. “He’s got (three) Gold Gloves, the ability to spin the ball and he’s a great athlete. If he wasn’t a pitcher he’d probably be a center fielder. And when the pitchers were hitting, he was a force there, helping himself.”

    Indeed, Fried was the last pitcher to win a Silver Slugger Award before 2022, when the National League adopted the designated hitter for good. New teammate Chris Sale, who joins the Braves after 13 years in the American League, said he was jealous of Fried for that.

    He’s also scared to play catch with him. Fried abruptly switched from cutters to four-seam fastballs one day, Sale said, and the ball seemed to hop right over his shoulder.

    “I completely whiffed,” Sale said. “Didn’t even get a glove on it. So I was like, ‘I don’t know how many more times I’m going to do this.’ But everything he’s done up to now has been unbelievable.”

    Sale said he’s enjoyed the camaraderie in the Braves’ clubhouse, the way so many teammates and coaches like to sit around talking baseball, the way the old-timers did. Fried said he’s eager to learn from Sale, a fellow lanky left-hander, who had a seven-year run of All-Star selections from 2012 through 2018.

    “There’s something beyond talent that allows for someone to have the consistency and success that he’s had,” Fried said. “So being able to see what he’s all about, the way he goes about things, what makes him tick — those kinds of conversations and questions, I think I’ve really only scratched the surface of it. We’ll be able to get more in the weeds with stuff that comes up throughout the season.” 
    When Fried was a teenager, he said, he was drawn to two pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, then just blossoming as the ace of his favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cole Hamels, then starring for the Philadelphia Phillies. Hamels pitched briefly for the Braves in 2020 and helped Fried with the mental side of the game — and with his signature changeup. 
    After losing Game 2 in Houston, Fried won there in the clinching Game 6, firing six shutout innings, allowing six singles and no walks. He was spiked covering first base in the first inning — “I was very lucky that Michael Brantley was wearing rubber cleats,” Fried said — but held on to become the first starter in 14 years, since Boston’s Jon Lester in 2007, to win the World Series clincher without allowing a run. 

    “It’s a lifelong dream that I got to live out,” Fried said, reflecting on the legacy-making night that will always tie him to Atlanta, no matter what happens this winter.

    “Looking back at it, there were a lot of emotions, it was high stress, and you kind of get lost in the moment. At that point you’ve played seven-ish months, pushing on eight. You’ve given everything you have, and you’re kind of tired and drained. No one feels good at that time. No one’s fresh, everyone’s banged up. It’s just mano a mano, who’s going to win?”

    When Fried is on the mound, the answer is usually clear. Winning is his job, and nobody does it better. (Kepner - Mar 15, 2024 - The Athletic)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2012: The Padres chose Max in the first round, 7th overall pick, out of Harvard-Westlake High School in California. And Fried signed with scout Brent Mayne for $3 million.

  • Dec 20, 2014: The Padres sent LHP Max Fried, INFs Jace Peterson and Dustin Peterson, OF Mallex Smith, and international bonus compensation to the Braves; acquiring Justin Upton and RHP Aaron Northcraft.

  • Jan 15, 2021: Max avoided arbitration with the Braves, agreeing to a one-year deal for $3.1 million. 

  • June 22, 2022: Max won his arbitration case receiving $6.8 million versus the Braves $6.6 million offer.

  • Feb 4, 2023: Fried lost to the Braves in salary arbitration, and will make $13.5 million this season instead of his $15 million request.

  • Jan 11, 2024: The Braves signed Fried to a one-year deal avoiding arbitration. The deal was worth $15 million.
Pitching
  • Fried has a 92-97 mph 4-seam FASTBALL (a 55 or 60) and an 88-93 mph 2-seamer that has good sink and arm-side run. He also has a CUTTER and an above-average tight 75-78 mph overhand.

    He gets tremendous spin on his downer CURVEBALL with plus depth and tight rotation that he can throw for a strike anytime in the count. That vicious curve is his best pitch (a 60) and it is s true weapon with top-to-bottom/12-to-6 spin.  His 80-82 mph CHANGEUP is becoming above-average (a 60 grade) with deception and late sink that generates fade for a swing-and-miss from righthanded hitters. (Spring, 2018)

  • He can manipulate the shape and velocity of the curveball depending on the situation, throwing it hard for a strike or a chase pitch, and he can slow his curve down. He says he patterned the tight spinner after the curveball thrown by his half-brother, who pitched for Southern Cal. And both of them watched any video they could find of Sandy Koufax.

    The key now for Max is to continue fine-tuning his pitches and to make adjustments. He believes his added maturity and healthy arm should lead to more success. (Spring, 2017)

  • 2017 Season Pitch Usage: Fastball 62.7% of the time; Change 11.1%; and Curve 26.1% of the time.

  • 2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 54.6% of the time, his Sinker 4.2%; Change 12.1%; and Curve 29.1% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.4 mph, Sinker 92.6, Change 84.7, and Curve 74.6 mph.

  • 2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 54% of the time, his Sinker 2.9%; Change 2.3%; Slider 15.9%; and Curve 24.9% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 94 mph, Sinker 93.7, Change 85.1, Slider 83.8, and Curve 74.6 mph.

  • 2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 38.9% of the time; Sinker 10.6%; his Change 4.4%; Slider 21.3%; and his Curve 24.8% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.7, Sinker 93, Change 83.6, Slider 84.8, and Curve 74.8 mph.

  • 2022 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 32.6% - 94 mph; Curve 21.2% - 74 mph; Slider 19% - 87 mph; Change 13.5% - 86.5 mph; Sinker 14% - 93.5 mph.

  • 2023 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 32.5% - 94 mph; Sinker 12.6% - 93 mph; Curve 23% - 74.4 mph; Slider 16% - 85 mph; Change 16% - 86. mph.

  • Max has above-average mound presence. He is a cerebral lefthander. He has shown he's at his best when he is pitching to contact and getting guys out early in the count.

  • Fried is lanky, with long arms and a free, easy delivery. He comes at hitters from a good downhill plane.

    He has very good command.

  • Even when Max doesn't have his best stuff, he battles.

  • During Fried's long layoff while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, he spent time on the mental part of the game.

    "I think I'm a little more advanced in the mental game," Fried said in 2016. "I had a lot of time to work on that while I was rehabbing and picking the brains of other guys. I feel I can assess what I'm doing wrong quicker so I can fix it and make adjustments. I'm working hard on the mental aspects of my game instead of relying solely on the physical parts.

    “I was always thinking of ways I could better my game once I got back (from rehab), regardless of what happened from a physical aspect,” Max said. “I feel I’m a different pitcher, and a better pitcher, because of everything I worked on while I was rehabbing.”

  • Max, true to Los Angeles roots, said his favorite Major League pitcher is Sandy Koufax. Of the current lot, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw tops his list.

  • In September 2018, the Braves pushed Max Fried to a relief role and unlocked an aggression level that has allowed the young lefthander to realize the tremendous potential he displayed in near-perfect fashion during the 9-4 win over the Cubs at SunTrust Park.

    “I’m not going to lie, going to the bullpen is something that helped me a lot with my mentality,” Fried said. “It helped me go after guys. It was like I said, ‘Here’s my stuff, hit it if you can.’ I’m going to try to adapt that to my starting routine too.”

    Making his first start in more than two weeks, Fried went longer and stronger than expected. The southpaw routinely spotted his livelier fastball, which made his plus curveball even more effective. The Cubs did not produce their first baserunner until Mark Zagunis lined a 1-2 changeup to center field for a two-out single in the sixth.

    Nick Markakis, the veteran outfielder quickly acknowledged the story of the night was Fried, who surrendered just the one hit over six scoreless innings. Just 3 of the 19 batters he faced hit a ball to the outfield.

    “There’s almost a different look in his eyes this year,” Markakis said. “He worked well back there tonight with [catcher Brian McCann]. He was locating and had good pitch selection. It was just a fun game to watch and be a part of.”

    Aware that Fried had not completed more than two innings since tossing five scoreless against the Nationals way back on March 19, Braves manager Brian Snitker was not going to push his young hurler beyond the sixth regardless of whether or not the no-hitter or perfect game were still attainable.

    “He wasn’t built up enough to throw a nine-inning no-hitter,” Snitker said. “A couple more starts, he might be.”

    Before the game started, Snitker responded to a question about a fitting role by saying he thought Fried could be effective in the rotation or the bullpen. Excitement about his capabilities as a reliever grew late last season when he showed increased velocity after being moved to the bullpen.

    But as Fried’s four-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 97.2 mph during this outing against the Cubs, he showed he is indeed capable of producing that enhanced electricity when being used as a starter. His four-seamer had never averaged better than 93.2 mph in any of his previous nine career starts.

    If Fried routinely pumps his fastball at this rate with consistent command, he has the tools to become an elite pitcher. Per Statcast, the spin rate of his curveball ranked fifth among all pitchers who used the pitch at least 150 times in 2018.

    “I told him he looks like a young Cole Hamels,” McCann said. “He’s got the same build and the same sort of look. The stuff is off the charts.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - April 5, 2019)

  • April 21, 2019: A true breakout season tends to have certain signature moments, and one appeared to arrive for Max Fried. Fried’s early season brilliance has benefited the Braves and earned him attention in Atlanta, but the stuff and self-assurance he showed in front of a national audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in an 11-5 win over the Indians at Progressive Field felt like a coming-out party for the lefthander. 

    Staked to an early lead, Fried overcame some first-inning wildness to breeze past the Cleveland bats with an electric mix highlighted by a beautiful breaking ball.

    “He might look young, but … mid-90s fastball, slow breaking ball that kind of kept spinning,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Kind of reminded me of Blake Snell in Tampa. I can see why they’re so excited about him.”

    What was most encouraging was the way he corralled his command of all of his pitches. The main takeaway was talent and tenacity. 

    “The fastball command has been so much better,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I think the slider is becoming a really good pitch for him. The ability to spin the ball is what we’ve been looking for from him. He’s repeating his delivery and taking it a pitch at a time.”

    “I just I felt like I was maybe overthrowing a little bit in the early portion,” he said. “I was trying to get that third out a little too hard. I tried to take a step back, execute pitches. By the time I went out for the second inning, I was executing pitches.”

    His best pitch might be that Snell-like curve. Fried threw it 28 times and got eight swinging strikes and three called strikes. (A Castrovince - MLB.com - April 21, 2019)

  • The path to Fried’s success could be a Rich Hill pitching style that emphasizes curveballs. 

  • 2019 Improvements: Fried's strikeout increase can be attributed to the enhanced comfort Fried has gained with his slider, a pitch he developed during Spring Training and then began using more frequently near the end of April. Everyone has long known about his big curveball, which has gained more value now that hitters must look for two different breaking balls in any count.

    “It’s been a lot more consistent,” said McCann. “The slider keeps everybody off the fastball. It all plays together. It was fastball/curveball early in the season. Now he’s got that slider, which looks like the fastball. So it kind of protects everything else.” (Mark Bowman - MLB.com - September 6, 2019)

  • In 2019, Fried's 17 wins nearly led the National League. And his 6 victories in the final two months were more than all but eight pitchers, so he is already appreciated in fantasy circles too. What might not be appreciated is the elite spin rate on his curveball, which is in the same range as Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Justin Verlander.

    To take the next step, Fried must improve his effectiveness against righthanded batters, who hit .281 and slugged .435 against him in 2019.

  • Max showed in his first full season that he has the potential of a future ace, emerging as a key young starter in a playoff-bound Braves rotation alongside Mike Soroka. Not to mention that he has one of the prettiest curveballs this side of Clayton Kershaw. 

    Fried throws a stunning 12-6 curveball. His curve drops 69.6 inches on average, top-five in MLB and most among lefties. That drop is nearly eight inches more than pitchers who throw their curves at similar speed and release points to Fried, giving his curve top-10 vertical movement above average. The movement comes from Fried's high spin rate. He sat at 2,844 rpm in 2019, way higher than the 2,523 rpm Major League average. And he reached the elite 3,000-plus rpm spin territory 80 separate times.

    Fried's curveball is great on its own. But it got even more effective once he added a second breaking ball, a slider, to go with it. Fried worked on the slider in Spring Training 2019 and deployed it during the 2019 season to great effect. His slider and curveball have different enough speeds but similar enough action to keep hitters off-balance. Now when hitters see a breaking ball come out of Fried's hand, they can't just wait on the big slow curve. That makes everything harder to hit … hence the great barrel rate. Fried allowed barrels on just 4.4% of batted balls last season, fourth-best of that same group of 152 pitchers. Only 3% of the batters he faced barreled the ball, also fourth-best.  (Adler - mlb.com - 6/3/2020)

  • Oct 2020: Fried, the 26-year-old, gained comfort with the slider he added last season in 2019, and then began to use the pitch more frequently this year, in 2020. Opponents hit .239 against this pitch, which was considerably higher than the average produced against his four-seam fastball (.198) and curveball (.175).

    But the .195 expected batting average against the slider was a reminder of how much trouble opponents have had squaring up his pitches. Fried surrendered a 23.8 percent hard-hit rate. Per Baseball Savant, that ranked first among pitchers who allowed at least 150 balls to be put in play this year.

    “His curveball has always been nasty and his fastball has always been electric,” Braves third baseman Austin Riley said. “When he added that slider [before the 2019 season], it has made him that much better. When facing a guy with two pitches, you have some comfort in eliminating one pitch. When you’re facing a guy with three pitches or four like Max, that’s tough. He’s been outstanding.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Oct 6, 2020)

  • Dec 9, 2020: Fried was recognized as First Team All-MLB selection.

    Nobody was more valuable to the Braves than Fried over the season’s first six weeks. The lefthander went 7-0 and posted a 2.25 ERA while limiting opponents to a .211 batting average over 11 starts this year. He was a strong NL Cy Young candidate before lower back discomfort limited him to 3 starts and 11 innings in September.

    Fried produced a 1.60 ERA through the eight starts he made before his back became an issue. His emergence allowed the Braves to overcome the absence of ace Mike Soroka, who tore his Achilles tendon on Aug. 3. (M Bowman - MLB.com - Dec 9, 2020)

  • 2020 Season: Fried established himself as a legitimate Major League starter as he developed a slider during the 2019 season. His continued improvement of the pitch took him to another level last year, when he proved to be one of the game’s toughest pitchers to hit.

    This year, Fried has come to Spring Training confident in his ability to build off his 2020 success. The 27-year-old went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA over 11 regular-season starts and finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting. He limited opponents to a .211 batting average and a .332 slugging percentage.

    In other words, Fried was much more effective than he was in 2019, when he posted a 4.02 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .270 with a .419 slugging percentage. (Mark Bowman - Feb. 19, 2021)

  • May 5, 2021: A healthy Max Fried produced the most encouraging development, by looking much more like he did last year, in 2020.

    “That’s as good as his stuff has been all year,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “In the second [inning] he started getting in a flow and a rhythm, and his stuff started being live again. That was really encouraging to see.”

    Fried posted an 11.45 ERA in the first three starts he made before going on the injured list. He entered the season intent to build on the success he had in 2020. But after being given his first Opening Day start, he struggled through those first three starts.

    Looking back, Fried believes his mechanics were negatively affected when he too-often rushed his delivery and attempted to make the perfect pitch.

    “You get caught sometimes trying to go through the motions instead of just going and worrying about competing,” Fried said. “I'm at my best when I'm not thinking and I'm leaving it all out there.”

    On April 13, Fried allowed the Marlins career highs in both hits (9) and runs (8) over just four innings. Adding salt to the wound, he strained his right hamstring after a short bench forced him to bat in the bottom of the fourth.

    It was an odd injury. But as time passes, there may be even more reason to believe it was a beneficial one. “We kind of said, 'This might end up being a blessing in disguise, where you can kind of just regroup a little bit,'” Snitker said. “If he stays the course right here, that's going to be huge for us.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - May 5, 2021)

  • Aug. 21, 2021: Fried tossed a four-hitter for first career complete-game shutout.

  • September 2021: Fried has been on a roll since the All-Star break and finished up the regular season with a strong September. Max was named the National League Pitcher of the Month.

    Fried was nearly untouchable down the stretch as he allowed only one earned run over his final three starts, spanning 23 innings. That stretch included a Sept. 24 gem against the Padres which ended with Fried wrapping up his second shutout of the season.

    Through six September starts, Fried recorded a 1.54 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP and a .490 opponent OPS to help the Braves secure their fourth consecutive NL East title. He is the first Brave to be named Pitcher of the Month since Kris Medlen in September 2013.

    The month was a fitting conclusion to a stellar second half for the 27-year-old. Fried entered the All-Star break with a 4.71 ERA and a .427 opponent slugging percentage. In 14 starts after the break, he pitched to a 1.74 ERA and limited batters to just .290 slugging. (B Murphy - MLB.com - Oct 4, 2021)

  • 2021 Season: Fried’s season got off to a rough start. He allowed six hits, two runs and struck out eight over five innings on Opening Day against the Phillies. He then allowed eight hits and five runs in just two innings against the Nationals, and then gave up nine hits and seven runs in four innings against the Marlins. To make matters worse, he suffered a strained hamstring while running the bases in the loss to Miami and landed on the injured list while possessing an 11.45 ERA and a 6.35 FIP.

    Fried returned on May 5 and looked more like himself, allowing a total of four runs for the month. He settled in from there and was lights out in the second half with a 1.74 ERA and a 2.74 FIP over his final 93 innings. He allowed just one run over his final three starts, highlighted by a complete game shutout in San Diego. He also threw a Maddux (complete game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches) in Baltimore on August 20. If you take out his first seven starts of the year, Fried pitched to the tune of a 2.62 ERA / 3.08 FIP / 3.21 xFIP.

    All in all, Fried compiled 3.8 fWAR, 4.8 RA9-WAR, and 3.5 WARP, locking in another well-above-average season.

    Fried struck out nine while throwing six scoreless innings in his only start of the Division Series against Milwaukee. He allowed eight hits but just two runs in six innings in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. He got knocked around in Game 5 of the NLCS, allowing five runs in just 4 2/3 innings and then was tagged for seven hits and six runs in five innings in Game 2 of the World Series, though much of that was ball-in-play shenanigans in a single inning and he was lights-out afterward. However, he came up with a sterling performance in Game 6 helping send the Braves to their first championship since 1995.  (Kris Willis@Kris_Willis - Nov 28, 2021)

  • March 30, 2022: April 7 marks the day the Braves begin the quest to defend their 2021 World Series title, and Max Fried is the guy who’ll lead the charge as he has been selected as opening day pitcher for the Braves, per manager Snitker.

    COACHING FROM REGGIE SMITH

  • Nov 17, 2022: Opponents didn’t have much success against Max Fried’s curveball this past season. According to Baseball Savant, opponents went 21-for-121 (.174) with 50 strikeouts, the most strikeouts off any pitch thrown by the Braves’ left-hander.

    While appearing on Cy Young presentation show on MLB Network, Fried credited former Major Leaguer Reggie Smith with helping him develop that curve. Smith never pitched in the big leagues; he was a productive outfielder with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants during the 1960s, ‘70s and early '80s. But starting at age 7, Fried attended the Reggie Smith Baseball Academy in Encino, Calif., and learned a lot.

    “Smith is an outfielder, but he is someone who is a big mentor to me,” Fried told MLB Network. “He is someone who shaped my pitching and baseball playing. He was showing me different grips [on the curveball]. He is probably one of the smartest baseball people I have ever been around.  “He was an All-Star outfielder, but he has a wide range of knowledge of baseball—pitching, understanding pitchers and how pitchers attack hitters. To be able to have that perspective growing up, trying to soak up all that knowledge, it really helped me out.”

  • Smith confirmed that he taught Fried the curveball, but he taught it in a way in which Fried wouldn’t hurt his arm. Smith remembered Fried as the type of kid who wanted to do well all the time.

    “If he didn’t do well, he was embarrassed by it,” Smith said. “It’s not like he would have a tantrum, but you could see [the disappointment] in his face.”

    The way Smith sees it, if a pitcher throws the curveball properly, there is less stress on the arm than from throwing a fastball.

    “I wanted him to maintain his arm in a natural throwing motion. That’s what we worked on,” Smith said. “Max was able to learn more than one type of curveball. But more important than that, other than teaching him the curveball, it was [teaching him] when to use it.” Fried had a season to remember in 2022, going 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA en route to finishing second in the NL Cy Young voting, behind Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara. Fried also finished second on the Braves behind Austin Riley in Wins Above Replacement (5.9, per Baseball Reference).

    “I’m very proud of Max,” Smith said. “We stayed in contact during the season. If I see something or he has something he wants to bounce off me, [we talk]. He also checks on me to see how I’m doing. That’s how good a heart and passionate that he is. He checks on me to make sure I’m doing OK and vice versa.” (B Ladson - MLB.com - Nov 17, 2022)

  • 2022 Statistics:  14-7 with a 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 1.014 WHIP, zero complete games and a 5.0 WAR across 185 1/3 IP

  • Fried is coming off of the best season of his career, having made his first All-Star Game appearance, while taking home his third consecutive Gold Glove Award and finishing runner-up in NL Cy Young voting. Set to become a free agent after the 2024 season, Fried is one of the few young stars that Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves have not been able convince to sign an extremely team-friendly extension.   (Tim Kelly - Feb. 1, 2023)

  • 2023 Season: Normally a paragon of consistency that had 165 or more innings in all three of the last full seasons before 2022, Fried pitched only 77.2 innings in 2023 as he dealt with three different IL stints (hamstring strain, forearm strain, blisters).

  • April 23, 2024: Per Baseball Reference, Max Fried is just the 41st pitcher in MLB history to record 3+ shutouts on fewer than 100 pitches, with Greg Maddux himself leading the way, who has 15, eight more than any other pitcher.
Fielding
  • Watch out for Max's pickoff move. He can pick a runner off of first base. Has one of the best lefthanded pick-off moves in baseball.

    GOLD GLOVER

  • In 2020, Fried won his first Gold Glove.

  • In 2021, he won his 2nd NL Gold Glove.

  • In 2022, for the third consecutive year, the NL Gold Glove Award for pitchers went to Fried. In 185 1/3 innings pitched during the regular season, Fried had 42 defensive chances and made only one error. Max is one of only three hurlers in Braves history to win multiple Gold Gloves. Greg Maddux (10) and Phil Niekro (five) are the others. 

Career Injury Report
  • April–July 2014: Fried was on the D.L. with a sore left arm.

  • August 15, 2014: Fried suffered a setback with news that he would need Tommy John surgery.

    Max missed the first three months this of 2014 with left forearm soreness before eventually making five starts between Rookie ball and Class A. He last pitched July 21 before being sidelined again with what was called elbow soreness.

    August 20, 2014: Fried underwent UCL reconstruction surgery and will miss the entire 2015 season. (Alex Halsted - MLB.com - 8/15/2014)

  • July 6-15, 2016: Max was on the D.L. with a blister problem.

    July 16-August 14, 2016: Fried went right back on the D.L. with a blister.

  • 2017 season: A blister issue helped ruin Max' first half in 2017, but he rebounded to make his big league debut in August.

  • July 6-28, 2018: Max was on the DL with left middle finger blister.

  • August 8-27, 2018: Max was on the DL with left groin strain.

  • May 7, 2019: The meaty portion of Fried’s left hand was struck by Alex Verdugo’s line drive. Alex felt little strength as he attempted to throw a pair of warmup pitches. So he headed to the clubhouse, where he felt relief when X-rays showed no signs of a fracture.

  • July 15, 2019: Fried's best outing in almost two months was cut short by a blister. The lefthander, who has been bothered by blisters dating back to his time in the Minors, said he noticed it near the end of the fourth inning and it got worse in the fifth.

    “It was never painful, just a little uncomfortable,” said Fried, who spent time on the injured list last season with a blister. “I showed the training staff after I came in in the fifth and just thought it was the best thing [to leave].”

    July 16-27, 2019: The Braves placed Fried on the IL with a blister on his left index finger. 

  • Sept 7-17, 2020: Max was on the IL with left lumbar spine muscle spasm.

  • Sept 23, 2020: After a left ankle injury forced Max to exit after the first inning of a 9-4 win over the Marlins, the obvious question was whether he might be ready to start Game 1 of next week’s Wild Card Series.

    “We’ll check him out tomorrow and go from there,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I’m hoping everything is good. The preliminaries are good, but we’ll know more tonight.” (Editor's note: Fried pitched in the 2020 playoffs.)

  • April 14-May 5, 2021: Max was on the IL with strained right hammy. He will spend at least the next week recovering from a right hamstring strain suffered during an ill-fated unexpected trip around the bases. He tweaked his hamstring while going from second to third on a wild pitch.

    “With hamstrings, you just never know,” Snitker said. “We're leaving him back [during the road trip] and letting him get treated up. Hopefully, it is just one start.” 

  • June 19-30, 2021: Max was on the IL with blister on left index finger. Fried was activated to start the game against the Mets. The lefty missed just one start because of a blister.

  • Aug 8-18, 2022: Max was on the IL with a concussion.

  • March 30, 2023: Fried exited the season-opening win at Nationals Park after he strained his left hamstring while racing to cover first base in the bottom of the fourth inning. The lefty hopes to avoid missing any time, but his manager is far less confident about the southpaw making his next scheduled start on Wednesday in St. Louis.

    “[He] strained his hamstring,” Snitker said. “It’s more than likely going to be an [injured-list stint].

  • April 1-17, 2023: - The Braves placed left-handed ace Max Fried on the IL with a strained left hamstring. Braves manager Brian Snitker said he won't know when Fried will be able to return until he gets back on the mound to test his injured leg, though Snitker is hopeful that it's a minor hamstring strain. 

  • May 9-Aug 4, 2023: Max was on the IL with left forearm strain.

    Fried will likely miss two months while recovering from a left forearm strain. The left-hander began feeling discomfort near the end of his May 5 start against the Orioles. An MRI exam showed no structural damage, but because Fried will not throw for a couple weeks, he will likely need at least an additional month to prepare himself to rejoin the Braves’ rotation.

    May 22, 2023: Fried has been cleared to use his left arm while doing upper-body lifting exercises. But he still hasn’t been cleared to throw since developing a left forearm strain near the end of his May 5 start against the Orioles. He’ll need a month to get back into pitching shape once he is cleared to resume throwing. So, it still looks like he could be out until at least early July.

    July 7, 2023: Fried, who has been sidelined since May 5 when he strained his forearm against the Orioles, is on his way to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he is set to make a rehabilitation start July 9 against Omaha.

    “I feel good and I’m looking forward to getting back out there,’’ Fried said in St. Petersburg, where the Braves faced the Rays. “It has been a long time.’’ Fried said he has faced batters twice. “That helps,’’ he said. “But it’s not the same as getting into a game.’’ Fried said he is uncertain how many rehab starts he will make before returning to the Braves.

    July 21, 2023: Fried took another step toward returning to the Braves’ rotation when he made his third Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett. Fried allowed six hits, including two homers, and three runs while throwing 65 pitches over 3 1/3 innings. The lefty has been on the injured list since straining his left forearm during a May 5 start. He will likely make one more rehab start before being activated.

    July 28, 2023: Braves manager Brian Snitker said that Fried will make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett. Fried was scheduled to start on July 26, but the outing was delayed after he was weakened by a virus. This could be the final rehab start for Fried, who has been sidelined since straining his left forearm in a May 5 start against the Orioles.

    Aug 4, 2023: Fried, who started the series opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, returns after missing three months with a left forearm strain. He made four Minor League rehab starts, working up to 4 1/3 innings in his last outing on July 29.

  • Sept 18, 2023: The Braves decided to delay Fried's next start by a few days because he felt some skin discomfort on his left hand after his most recent start. Fried battled blister issues during his Minor League days and the early portion of his big league career, so the team took the cautious route, with the plan for him to make his next start during the series at Nationals Park.

    Sept 22-Oct 7, 2023: Max was on the IL with left index finger blister.