LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A little more than a month after arriving at Spring Training, Max Fried exited his first big league Spring Training camp with valuable lessons and memories that could prove beneficial as he continues a potentially quick ascent toward the Major League level.Fried was certainly the
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A little more than a month after arriving at Spring Training, Max Fried exited his first big league Spring Training camp with valuable lessons and memories that could prove beneficial as he continues a potentially quick ascent toward the Major League level.
Fried was certainly the most impressive prospect in this year's Braves' big league camp. But with the regular season quickly approaching, the young left-hander will now spend the remainder of Spring Training in Minor League camp, prepping to begin the season in Double-A Mississippi's rotation. He ranks as the ninth-best Braves prospect per MLBPipeline.
"I'm definitely really, really excited about how I did and the stuff I was able to learn here," Fried said. "It's really priceless."
With their latest round of roster cuts on Thursday morning, the Braves announced Fried had been optioned to Mississippi. Righties Aaron Blair, Lucas Sims and Akeel Morris and infielder Johan Camargo were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Non-roster invitees lefty A.J. Minter and infielder Travis Demeritte were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Blair came to Spring Training knowing he would need to prove himself within Gwinnett's rotation before possibly being given a chance to rejoin Atlanta's rotation at some point this year. Camargo briefly established himself as a candidate for Atlanta's bench, but as the past week evolved, it became clear he needs more time to develop as an everyday player at the Minor League level.
But for the most part, each of these moves were expected to be made by the Braves, who now have 40 active players on their spring roster.
Unfortunately, Minter was not healthy enough to show why he was considered a dark-horse roster candidate when Spring Training began. The highly regarded reliever was sidelined most of the past month as he dealt with an inflamed nerve in his left forearm.
Minter completed a pain-free bullpen session on Wednesday and is now confident he can steadily make the preparations necessary to join Mississippi's bullpen during the early portion of this season. He produced a 1.30 ERA over a total of 34 2/3 innings at Class A Rome, Class A Advanced Carolina and Mississippi last year.
"I've just got to get healthy, that is the biggest thing," Minter said. "My arm feels great. I've just got to go out and prove myself all over again. It's not the end. I'm going to be back."
Since entering last year with some uncertainty as he attempted to return from Tommy John surgery, Fried has made significant strides. He breezed through last season's second half with Rome and then further opened some eyes this year as he worked a perfect inning against the Tigers' trio of Jose Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton in his Grapefruit League debut.
With the assistance of an impressive curveball and consistent fastball command, Fried allowed just one hit and recorded five strikeouts over four scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play. He certainly has the potential to be a candidate for Atlanta's rotation by this time next year.
"As far as how quick and the timetable, I don't really have any control over that," Fried said. "I'm just going to go out there and continue doing what I was doing here, just going after guys and being confident."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.