Fedroff waits patiently for a big league opportunity
For most professional baseball players, getting to the big leagues is all about consistent improvement and methodically working up their organization’s ladder.
There are occasionally stories of the young player that winds up getting their shot in the majors rather quickly – a recent example being the Washington Nationals’ 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper – but for the vast majority of players getting to the big show is a much longer process. Fortunately for Columbus Clippers outfielder Tim Fedroff, this process has mostly been going to plan.
While many players will hit the occasional bump or go through organizational changes on their way up, Fedroff’s experience has been much smoother. Since getting drafted by the Cleveland Indians with the 231st overall pick of the 2008 draft, he has slowly but surely ascended up to Triple-A. If he continues to play like he has this summer, he may wind up in Cleveland before long.
The 25-year-old lefty was born in Flagtown, New Jersey before playing college baseball at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In his time there he made a couple appearances in the College World Series, and twice was named to the All-Tournament Team as an outfielder.
Once he entered the Indians organization, he has been a contributor at every level and this summer has helped turn the Clippers season around and get his team within 2.5 games of the International League Wild Card.
Fedroff is quick to spread the credit around for the recent run, but he also is pleased with the product that he’s put on the field of late.
“We’re playing good baseball right now,” Fedroff said. “I feel like I’ve been coming to the field every day with a pretty good mindset. I’m really just trying to stay as consistent as I can by working on what I’ve been working on and sticking to my routine. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some success with that so far this season.”
This summer is Fedroff’s second stint with Columbus. He played 62 games for the Clippers in 2011, and in that time he batted .272 with 28 RBI. He’s been even more productive in 2012. In 39 games with Columbus this season he has hit .337 with seven home runs and 22 RBI.
Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh has been impressed with Fedroff’s approach over the last couple seasons, and ever since center fielder Ezequiel Carrera was called up to the Indians he’s had Fedroff frequently bat in the leadoff spot.
“He’s got a really solid approach at the plate,” Sarbaugh said of Fedroff. “He’s really put up consistent at-bats since he’s gotten here and he’s played well in the outfield. He’s done a good job for us and he’s really been a very good addition to our team.”
Fedroff has not had a season batting average below .274 throughout his minor league career. He started with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League where he hit .319, and the next year he hit .278 with the Kinston Indians – now the Carolina Mudcats – of the Carolina League. He’s since played for the Akron Aeros three times, the Clippers twice, and now he hopes to finally break through to the majors.
As happy as he is with his recent offensive production, Fedroff believes he still has a long way to go.
“I’d like to improve in all aspects of the game [going forward],” Fedroff said. “I’d like to steal more bases, I’d like to hit better, I’d like to throw harder and run faster. I’d like to play better defense. You can never do enough. You just want to get better every day.”
His effort has not gone unnoticed. He was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in December 2011, and he was both an Eastern League Player of the Week and Eastern League Player of the Month in May 2011.
Fedroff said that spending his entire career in one organization has been huge for his development as a baseball player. He’s been able to work his way up to Triple-A twice, and now he looks to take the final step.
“I’ve worked pretty closely with a lot of the coaching staffs from throughout this whole organization at every level,” Fedroff said. “I’ve kind of been able to work closely with them and develop a good routine and try to get more consistent with how I play. A big part of that is working with the coaches I’ve been working with year in and year out.”
There’s still room to grow, and the end of the 2012 season looms in the distance. Even if the Clippers are unable to come all the way back and make the postseason, the future for Tim Fedroff looks very promising indeed.