When Montclair Prep of Van Nuys, Calif. cut its entire athletic program, all of its athletes essentially became free agents in Southern California's prep landscape. While coaches at other schools couldn't directly contact athletes because of recruiting rules, it has still made for interesting developments. The baseball world has had its eye on lefthander Max Fried, a potential first-round pick for the 2012 draft. Early speculation was that he would head to Studio City's Harvard-Westlake High to join righthander Lucas Giolito in the rotation. That has turned into a reality as the school announced Fried's enrollment in a press release this evening.
“I am extremely grateful to Montclair Prep for the great experiences I had there – both in the classroom and on the field," Fried said. "The decision by the school to cancel the sports program was a shock to me and my family. I was looking forward to having a great senior year there. Because both school and sports are important to me, I decided to explore the opportunity to pursue both at another school. Harvard-Westlake represents the best balance of academics and athletics and I am excited to begin my senior year there.”
With Giolito being arguably the top prospect in the 2012 class, the Wolverines automatically boast the top rotation in the country. It's reminiscent of Houston's Cypress Falls High rotation that had righthander Clint Everts and lefthander Scott Kazmir. Everts went fifth overall to the Expos while Kazmir fell to the Mets at the 15th pick because of signability.
With the draft still 10 months away, it's impossible to say for sure that Giolito and Fried will be the highest drafted prep pitching duo in history, but they have the talent to do it. Fried has a projectable frame with long arms and a free, easy delivery. His fastball sits 88-92 mph with armside run. He also mixes in a mid-70s curveball with late break and a solid, low-80s changeup with sink.
Giolito has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds. He pumps fastballs in the low 90s from an effort less delivery and can touch 95-96. He also has a wicked, low-80s curveball with sharp, downward break.
In addition to Fried and Giolito, Harvard-Westlake has 2013 catcher/infielder Arden Pabst, a member of the 2011 USA Baseball 16U National Team, and Jack Flaherty, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound outfielder/righthander that was one of the top freshmen in the country this spring.
Another recent rotation of note was this spring when Broken Arrow (Okla.) High had righthanders Archie Bradley and Mason Hope on the mound. Bradley went seventh overall to the Diamondbacks and signed at the deadline for $5 million. Hope was picked by the Marlins in the fifth round and signed for $250,000. With a 6-A state title, Broken Arrow finished at No. 3 in the Baseball America High School Top 25.
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