When Brian Matusz and Stephen Strasburg were in college (at USD and SDSU, respectively) I watched them both throw in one day. The same professional scout was at both games. So, I asked him who he'd take first, Matusz (who was then a junior) or Strasburg (who was a sophomore).
The scout's reply was telling.
"Right-handed starters are good," he said. "But left-handed starters are great."
That's been the conventional wisdom in baseball for a long time, and the Padres followed the script in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
San Diego selected Max Fried (pronounced "Freed") with the 7th overall pick. Fried is a 6'4", 180-pound lefty from Harvard-Westlake HS in North Hollywood. Baseball America rated him the top lefty available in this year's class.
The 18-year-old Fried went 8-2 with a 2.02 ERA in his senior season. He threw 66 innings, allowing only 43 hits. Fried showed good command, with 105 strikeouts against just 29 walks.
Here's the full scouting report, courtesy of MLB.com:
"Projectable left-handers are always a hot commodity and Fried is one of the best in this Draft class.Fried has a good three-pitch mix and knows how to use it. His fastball sits comfortably in the 90-91 mph range, but he can reach back for 93-94 mph when he needs to. His fastball has good natural sink and he'll also throw a cutter. He's got a Major League average curve that he can throw for strikes at any point in the count and his changeup should be above average, with good deception and late sink.Occasionally, Fried doesn't get on top of his curve, so it can get a bit slurvy, but that's easily correctable. With very good command and well-above-average mound presence, it's easy to see why some think Fried might be one of the early southpaws to come off the board in June."
The only potential obstacle is college. Fried is committed to UCLA. If he and the Padres can't agree on a contract, Fried can opt to go to school. In 2010, Padres 1st round pick Karsten Whitson chose the University of Florida instead of accepting San Diego's $2.1 million offer.