Fedroff hopes patience and dedication turn dream into reality
Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh-round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, outfielder and current Columbus Clipper Tim Fedroff has learned not to take anything he has achieved for granted. He’s just happy to be playing the game he loves.
Now, at age 26, the University of North Carolina product is waiting for his chance to break into the big leagues. The most valued lesson he’s learned throughout his five-plus year career is to remain optimistic.
“You definitely have to stay positive,” Fedroff said. “Take it one day at a time, one at-bat at a time. Never forget that you have an opportunity at hand and be grateful for it.”
Fedroff, the reigning Lou Boudreau Award recipient as the Indians’ Minor League Player of the Year, had a phenomenal 2012 campaign between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. In 123 total games, the outfielder accumulated a .316 batting average with 23 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 54 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .394 on-base percentage. His 148 hits were tops in the entire minor league system.
After his torrid season, Fedroff was added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster during this past winter and was competing for a spot on the 2013 Opening Day roster.
Unfortunately, his spring was dismal at best. Fedroff hit just .238 (5-for-23) with no extra-base hits or RBI and six strikeouts. He was sent to start the year with the Clippers to anchor the outfield and refine his hitting.
His April picked up where his spring left off. In 25 games that month, Fedroff batted just .238 with four doubles, a home run, five RBI, two base swipes and a .319 on-base percentage (OBP).
But after making some minor adjustments with the aid of hitting coach Phil Clark, Fedroff has begun to look like his typical, multi-tool player self.
“To be honest, I’ve been working a lot with Phil,” Fedroff said. “I’m really trying to stay on the baseball a little bit longer. I feel like early on I was trying to do too much, pressing a little bit. Not letting my play handle itself. I was trying to create stuff that wasn’t really there.”
He admitted that he drifted away from the mentality that made him so successful last season. But after reverting back to his old ways, Fedroff has felt more comfortable at the plate and it’s showing slowly but surely.
In the last two months combined, the outfielder has an average of .272 with 44 total hits, which include six doubles and two home runs, 14 RBI, 27 walks and nine stolen bases. But his most impressive statistic in that span is his .376 OBP, which is largely due to the 30 game on-base streak he amassed from May 9 to June 10.
“I really developed an approach that was successful for me last year and I feel like as of lately, I’ve been sticking to it a little bit better but there’s still room for improvement,” Fedroff said.
No matter where he’s placed in the batting order, Fedroff is going to excel. In 2013 alone, he has hit in the one, two, five, six and seven holes. But what’s even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t mind where Columbus manager Chris Tremie plugs him in as long as he can help the team win.
“We have a lot of talented players in our lineup so you know one through nine there’s going to be opportunities for guys to drive you in if you’re at the top and if you’re at the bottom, there’s going to be opportunities to drive them in,” Fedroff said. “Anywhere you hit in the order you’re going to have opportunities and that’s really all you can hope for.”
His smooth, compact swing and keen eye at the plate has netted him a .259 batting average with 10 doubles, three homers, 18 RBI, 39 walks, 11 steals, a .352 OBP and a .331 slugging percentage. He’s also second on the team with 16 multi-hit contests.
Clippers manager Chris Tremie said that Fedroff’s versatility and unique skill set makes him one of the most potent players on the Clippers roster.
“He’s a good outfielder,” Tremie said. “He’s got the ability to run, get on base. In most cases and throughout his career, he’s been a pretty high on-base percentage guy, high average. At the plate he gives you the opportunity to take it the other way or pull the ball. He gives you quality at-bats.”
Fedroff isn’t too shabby with the leather either. He’s made just one error, has three assists and boasts a .992 fielding percentage (.988 lifetime) in 58 games in the field this year.
The time spent in the Indians organization has been nothing short of fulfilling for Fedroff. He’s just hoping that he can turn his ultimate dream into a reality through his patience and dedication.
“I’ve loved it,” Fedroff said. “Every day I come out and play the game and I cherish every minute of it. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to get to the Major League level and show them what I can do.”
But until that time comes, Fedroff is taking everything step-by-step and letting his play do all of the talking.
“I’m just trying to improve,” Fedroff said. “Just keep playing the game hard, stay healthy and get better every day.”