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Christian Friedrich

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Christian Louis Patrick Friedrich

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[edit] Biographical Information

Christian Friedrich was a 2008 first-round pick who made it to the majors in 2012.

[edit] Amateur Career

Friedrich was 8-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 102 K in 58 innings as a high school junior and 8-3 with a 1.73 ERA as a senior. As a freshman in college, he went 10-2 while fanning 118 in 82 innings. He led the Ohio Valley Conference in ERA (1.98), was second in wins and threw a no-hitter. He was 15th in NCAA Division I in ERA. He made All-Conference and won the OVC Freshman of the Year award. In the New England Collegiate Baseball League, he had a 2-0, 1.41 record for the Vermont Mountaineers. Baseball America named him as a freshman All-American and the top NECBL prospect.

As a sophomore, Friedrich was 5-4 with a 2.09 ERA and a .155 opponent average. He led the conference in both ERA and strikeouts (101). He was All-OVC but lost Pitcher of the Year to Shawn Kelley. He was 21st in Division I in ERA. In the fall, he went 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA and 52 K in 37 IP for the Falmouth Commodores. He tied Wade Miley for the Cape Cod League lead in whiffs. Baseball America named him as the 4th-best prospect in the elite summer circuit, behind Aaron Crow, Yonder Alonso and Kyle Gibson.

His junior year, 2008, the southpaw was 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA, .144 opponent average and 108 strikeouts in 81 2/3 IP. He was named the OVC Pitcher of the Year, leading the Conference in ERA, strikeouts and opponent average. He was second in NCAA Division I in ERA (behind Matt Packer) and led in fewest hits per 9 innings (4.41, .05 ahead of Scott Bittle). He was 7th in strikeouts per 9 innings and tied for 17th in total strikeouts. He finished as the school's career leader with 327 strikeouts. Baseball America named him second-team All-American, going with a first-team starting corps of Aaron Crow, Brian Matusz, Stephen Strasburg and Rob Musgrove.

[edit] Minor League Career

He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round of the 2008 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Scott Corman for a $1.35 million bonus and began his pro career that year. He appeared for the Tri-City Dust Devils (2-1, 3.25, 50 K, 8 BB in 36 IP) and the Asheville Tourists (0-1, 7.50). Baseball America rated him as the #3 prospect in both the Colorado minors and in the Northwest League (after Josh Vitters and Martin Perez). They also listed him as having the top curveball in the Colorado chain.

In 2009, Christian split time between Asheville (3-3, 2.18, 66 K in 45 1/3 IP) and the Modesto Nuts (3-2, 2.54, 93 K in 74 1/3 IP). He was among the affiliated minor league leaders in strikeouts (7th), strikeouts per 9 innings (2nd, between Matt Moore and Eric Surkamp), lowest opponent average (12th) and ERA (12th). Among Rockies farmhands, he led in strikeouts and tied Juan Nicasio for the best ERA. Baseball America named him the Rockies Minor League Player of the Year and ranked him as the second-best Rockies prospect behind Tyler Matzek (33rd in all of baseball) and second in the California League (behind Buster Posey, right ahead of Jason Castro).

In the 2010 Futures Game, Friedrich relieved Anthony Slama in the 9th with the US ahead 9-1. He retired Carlos Peguero on a fly to Mike Trout then was relieved by Tanner Scheppers. For the year, he fell to 3-6, 5.05 for the Tulsa Drillers before injury cut his season short. Baseball America still listed him as the 4th-best Rockies prospect, as having the best curveball in the Colorado minors (for the third year running) and as the 10th-best Texas League prospect (between fellow hurlers Blake Beavan and Cory Luebke).

Back with Tulsa in 2011, Christian continued to struggle at 6-10, 5.00. He tied for 6th in the Texas League in losses, tied Carlos Pimentel for second in wild pitches and was 8th with 88 runs allowed. Baseball America downgraded him to the Rockies' #14 prospect and he was left off his league's top prospect list for the first time. He opened 2012 with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and did well (2-1, 3.00, 4 BB in 30 IP) in his first five starts. He was called up to The Show with fellow prospect Alex White when Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin went on the disabled list.

Friedrich made his major league debut for the Rockies of May 9, 2012, as the starting pitcher against the San Diego Padres. He gave up 2 runs over 7 innings while striking out 7 to lead Colorado to a 6-2 win, his first major league victory.

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