- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — He’s alone now that the other two top prospects are gone.

Erick Fedde is at major-league spring training with the Washington Nationals for the first time. He likely would have been on the major league side even if the Nationals didn’t trade Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez for Adam Eaton in the offseason. But, with those guys gone, Fedde’s path to spring training and within the organization cleared.

He was surprised by the trade. Fedde, 23, finished last season with Double-A Harrisburg while Giolito and Lopez pitched at Nationals Park. When those two were traded, a prior bragging point for the Nationals was scratched away because their starting pitching depth took a hit.

“I was kind of in disbelief,” Fedde said. “I couldn’t believe that it happened and I called Gio right away and talked to him. And he was excited for me because it moved some of the guys out of the way at the top of the prospect list and I’m excited for him. He’s going to some new scenery.”

Giolito was the No. 1 prospect in the Nationals’ organization, and, on some lists, in baseball. His major-league debut last season came with the hype that is associated with such a ranking.

Fedde is ranked 52nd on Baseball America’s top prospect list. He’s not even the highest-ranked player in the organization. That’s outfielder Victor Robles, who is slotted 13th.

Which in part is why Fedde is taking the same approach as Giolito did last year in spring training. He wants to talk to the older players, but not bother them. He’s here foremost to work and learn.

“I just want to get to know everyone,” Fedde said. “Try to show everyone, the team and the coaching staff, what I’m about as a player and just kind of, I guess, display my talents a little bit. And show them I’m a hard worker and then let everyone else decide what they want from there.”

He’s going to work on his changeup and ask Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg about their off-speed pitch. Last year was just his first full professional season after being selected 18th overall in the 2014 draft.

Each year, he’s moved up Baseball America’s prospect list. In 2015, he was 90th. Last year, 82nd. Now, 52nd and the lone pitcher left of the trio of prospects from last season.

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