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Then & Now: Tim Fedroff

Then & Now: Tim Fedroff
November 6, 2012
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Then & Now is a weekly feature at Indians Prospect Insider during the offseason that takes a look at a prospect’s past and present while also offering a possible glimpse into the prospect’s future.

Some have more upside. And others may have more power potential. But it would be hard to argue that any Cleveland Indians prospect is more deserving of a Major League call-up than outfielder Tim Fedroff.

Drafted out of the University of North Carolina in the 7th round of the 2008 Draft, the left-handed hitting Fedroff just completed his fifth season within the Indians organization. Since day one, there’s been one constant in regard to Fedroff and his minor league career: hitting.

Fedroff is a patient hitter with an excellent bat-to-ball ability. He’s basically a line drive machine at the plate, and he also possesses slightly above-average speed.

Fedroff’s weakness is power. Up until recently, it was essentially nonexistent. Even still, for someone with his hitting ability and minor league résumé, it’s surprising that he has not yet received a Major League call-up. The Rahway, New Jersey native has a career line of .296/.378/.393. If that’s not deserving of at least a look, then I’m not sure what is.

Then:

Fedroff made his Indians debut shortly after be drafted in 2008 with Single-A Mahoning Valley. Coming out of college, Fedroff was advertised as having an advanced bat, and he showed that in just 23 games with the Scrappers that year.

In those 23 games, Fedroff posted a .319/.382/.407 line with six doubles, one triple and 12 RBI. He built off that season in 2009 when he spent the entire year at Single-A Kinston and hit .278 while driving in 39 runs in 99 games. Fedroff then had another successful season in 2010 at Double-A Akron where he hit .274 with 19 doubles and five triples in 118 games.

Fedroff appeared to be doing all the right things to get himself noticed by the big league club, but there was one minor criticism: Fedroff’s courageous, almost reckless playing style.

To be fair, every manager wants a gamer, and that’s exactly what Fedroff is. He gives it his all on every play, and he’s absolutely relentless, whether that be in the batter’s box or on the field.

However, for every yin, there is a yang, and while Fedroff’s playing style is a blessing, it also seems to be his curse. Though he seemed to make strides during the 2011 season. Fedroff stayed healthy throughout the regular season and combined to hit .308.385/.408 between Akron and Triple-A Columbus.

It was the first time he had hit over .300 since his brief stint with Mahoning Valley in 2008. And while Fedroff did encounter a shoulder injury during part of the fall season in 2011, it was still impressive that he made it throughout the entire 2011 regular season without succumbing to the injury bug.

Now:

Fedroff just turned in the finest season of his young career. In fact, the season was so impressive that it could be argued that no Indians player in the minor leagues or Major Leagues had a better season in 2012.

Between Akron and Columbus, Fedroff posted a .316/.394/.485 line with 23 doubles, 10 triples, 14 stolen bases and 61 walks compared to just 78 strikeouts. But while all those numbers were good, no number stood out more than 12, which was the number of home runs that Fedroff hit.

At any previous point of his career, Fedroff hit no more than four home runs in a single season, so the sudden power surge was a pleasant surprise.

Most everyone seemed to believe that Fedroff was destined to be a potential September Major League call-up, but to the surprise of many, the call never came.

There is no concrete answer as to why Fedroff never joined the Indians in 2012, but context clues suggest that the fact that he is a left-handed hitter probably has something to do with it. The Indians lineup was filled with left-handed hitters, and they probably saw no reason to add another.

Though the numbers suggest that Fedroff may have been able to help despite the fact that he is left-handed. While he absolutely crushed right-handers this past year in Columbus (70-for-210, .333 average), he also was not too shabby against left-handers either (16-for-55, .291 average). To be fair, it is a much smaller sample size, but plain and simple, Fedroff can hit, and it would have been nice to see him hit at the Major League level in 2012.

Future:

It’s hard to really say what lies ahead for Fedroff. Unfortunately, he is eligible to be picked in December’s Rule 5 Draft, and there is no guarantee that he is going to be rostered before that point. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Indians are likely to add him to the 40-man roster, but it’s hard to gauge just how the organization feels about him.

This past season, the first outfielder they chose to promote was Ezequiel Carrera even though Fedroff had outperformed Carrera for the majority of the year. Carrera did have a decent year with the Tribe in 2012, but there is no reason to believe that Fedroff could not provide at least similar production.

The problem really lies in the fact that there are questions surrounding Fedroff’s ability to play center field in the Major Leagues. While it is not pretty always, Carrera has shown that he has the speed and range to play center, and the same cannot be said for Fedroff at this point. 

The real key for Fedroff is his sudden development of average power. If the 2012 numbers prove to not be a fluke, then perhaps there is some hope that he could develop into a corner outfielder, at least in the storm term. Even right now, his skill set suggests that he could be a very good, possibly great, fourth outfielder.

But for now, his future remains in limbo. If he is indeed not rostered before the Rule 5 Draft, do not be surprised if a Major League team sneaks in and grabs themselves one helluva steal.

Previous Then & Now profiles:

Steve can be reached via email at orbaneks@gmail.com.

User Comments

Tony
November 7, 2012 - 3:51 PM EST
Actions speak louder than words. Having a guy like Fedroff (and Goedert) return to DOuble-A to open the season shows how low the value both have to the Indians. Plus neither were called upon in Cleveland at any point - even as a September callup - when both could have filled the LF need in Cleveland as good as anyone else that did in 2012. They Indians did not bother to roster Goedert or resign him and he is leaving the organization, and I feel more and more that Fedroff may be left off the 40-man this offseason.

As for Fedroff's defense, it is average at best. That's a fair assessment to me. He really can't be a Major League center fielder because he does not cover enough ground, his route running is not up to par, and his jumps are not as good. There is a fine line between being a capable CF in the big leagues, and he is not. It's an assessment shared by a lot of talent evaluators in the game. It's why the Indians have always said he has to not just hit, but he has to be elite to get a chance. Which, in some ways, is kind of what he did this past season (but didn't get a chance).
Rob
November 7, 2012 - 3:38 PM EST
Agree completely Seth. Still baffled why Fedroff started year at Akron as well. Exactly why i wish MS and CA would have been shitcanned this offseason. Nothing but failures and now we have to worry about them screwing up next batch coming up. Track record of rotting prospects at AA and AAA. Probably turn Paulino into a super utility guy and learn 6 new positions. Then have Lindor and Ramirez play with less swagger because having too much fun is frowned upon. Sign tons of upper level fodder and block everyone as well.
Seth
November 7, 2012 - 2:41 PM EST
I have watched Fedroff play a lot in Columbus and I don't understand why he is getting a bad rap defensively ? He has the speed..have you ever seen him run down the line? He makes any groundout close. He hardly ever makes an error in the outfield and he has made some awesome plays out there. I just don't buy it that he is a below average defender and anyone who has actually watched him play would agree. Carrera looked awful out in left field last season. With a season that was meaningless in September the Indians had the opportunity to see some guys and they chose to stick with the same boneheads. I mean not to beat a dead horse but Aaron Cunningham spent most of the year in the bigs over all the guys in AAA and AA.
Tony
November 7, 2012 - 9:08 AM EST
I'm not a 100% certain Fedroff would be picked in Rule 5 if left unprotected. Remember, he was available last year as well and went unpicked. Sometimes we overvalue our own guys and forget there are 29 other teams with players very similar to Fedroff. What hurts him as a fourth outfield candidate is teams don't think he can play center field at the ML level, which is a huge knock to his value and a big reason he could get overlooked in Rule 5. I still would expect him to be rostered (75% sure of it) and if not to be picked up in Rule 5.....but at the same time I would not be surprised at all if he was unrostered and unselected in Rule 5.
Willie
November 7, 2012 - 9:04 AM EST
Fedroff would definitely be picked if he is not fostered by the Tribe. He is a guy I could see the Tribe adding in a pkg trade bc of the surplus of LH hitters already on the big league level. I don't see Fedroff as any thing more than a LH platoon / 4th OF type but even that has value.
Tony
November 7, 2012 - 8:40 AM EST
Bob, a lot of the reason behind Carrera's call up was simply he was on the ML roster. Also, he's a superior defender when compared to Fedroff, has more ML experience, and can handle CF in the bigs. The problem with Fedroff is he is left-handed, really limited to just left field in the bigs, and does not have that big bat you'd like in LF. If he were a plus defender, he'd of been in LF a long time ago. All that being said, I still give him a shot to see what he can do. He may underwhelm offensively, but there is always the chance he surprises....
Bob
November 7, 2012 - 2:35 AM EST
Agreed Tony, Indians need to move on from Carrera. How much involvement do you think Acta had in Carrera's call up?
Tony
November 6, 2012 - 9:33 PM EST
Rob, note that I am speaking only to rationalize or explain why Fedroff was not called up....and not simply agreeing with why he wasn't. I actually wanted him up too and would have preferred him out there in left field over Carrera who I wish to move on from. As for Goedert, I too would have given him a shot, certainly over Duncan and even over Canzler. Both Fedroff and Goedert are likely just 24th-25th guys on a ML roster in the future and have a small ML future, but you always pull for your own.
Rob
November 6, 2012 - 9:14 PM EST
Tony, I'm sorry but that sounds like a Shapiro answer. We act like it was the'27 Yankees lineup out there. There were absolutely atbats to be had. I don't care if they had to DH him, give Brantley or Choo extra days or let them DH. Same for Goedert, as much of a pleasure it was getting to see Hannahan and Kotchmann put on and geting to see Brent f'ing Lillibridge get some OF and 3B action. Acta was still trying to throw his veteran lineups out there for most of September because he didn't want the 100 loss season on his resume.

I wish Goedert the best. I'm sure he has no interest in rejoining this clusterf*ck. Over 100 minor league HR's and an 820 ops, oh and he's right handed. Good thing we are already loaded with quality RH bats...oh wait.
art
November 6, 2012 - 9:01 PM EST
If he had a major split difference in his last couple of years of minor league performance I certainly could understand the reluctance to bring him up. However, he actually hasn't done too bad either way, batting .297 against lefties and .319 against righthanded pitchers. Power drops a bit against lefties, but still seems to make decent contact overall no matter which side they throw from.
Tony
November 6, 2012 - 8:29 PM EST
The Indians already made their decision to pass on Goedert so why he was never called up. He is now a free agent and free to sign with any team and likely will. As for Fedroff, he was not called up because of Carrera. With Carrera up, there was no space for Fedroff to come up. Now, I'm one that wants to move on from Carrera, but they stuck with him and as long as he was in Cleveland there was no room for Fedroff, even in September. What hurts Fedroff is the all-lefty outfield the Indians have and the fact he is left-handed. if he hit right-handed, he'd have already been up. I think he has a 75% chance of being rostered this offseason.
art
November 6, 2012 - 7:51 PM EST
Fedroff finished 9th in OPS in the International League, and of the top 20 OPS hitters he was among the youngest in the league. He also performed very well at Akron in 2011, batting .338 and with few strikeouts. He really has improved his performance every season.

Of the top 15 OPS batters in the International League last season, Fedroff was the only one who has not been given any major league time.

Considering the team needs and his performance, this is a disgrace.
Rob
November 6, 2012 - 7:09 PM EST
Absolutely inexcusable that Fedroff and Goedert didn't get 50+ ab auditions this year with the big club. I'll never understand the reasoning behind this. Would have had at least an idea on if they would be completely overmatched early and how they could adjust. Just another failure of understanding big picture for CA and MS.

I may pay someone to hypnotize me to wipe the 2012 season from my memory!!

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