Game vs. Cal turned lefty's season around

Evan Frederickson is not playing favorites as Thursday’s Major League Baseball draft approaches.

The USF left-handed pitcher turned it up in the second half of this season, impressing scouts enough for Baseball America to make him its 116th-ranked prospect while projecting he could be selected as early as the second round. And as the junior prepares to watch the proceedings with his parents in Virginia, Frederickson said he has no preference as to which organization drafts him, just that he is given opportunity to prove himself as a professional.

“I had teams and players I liked growing up but I’m not really rooting to go to one place or another,” said Frederickson, whom Baseball America compared to another Dons lefty, Aaron Poreda, who was a first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox last year. “You never know what’s going to happen and I’ll be excited to play anywhere I get picked. This is something I’ve been waiting my whole life for.”

Day 1 of the draft begins Thursday at 11 a.m., with the Tampa Bay Rays owning the first selection. The Giants (picks No. 5 and 37) and A’s (picks No. 12 and 58) each will draft twice in the top 60 as they look to stock their farm systems, and several Bay Area collegians are expected to join Frederickson as first-day picks. Switch-hitting catcher Jason Castro of Stanford is rated as the No. 21 prospect by Baseball America. He is closely followed by Cal first baseman David Cooper (No. 31) and righthanded pitcher Tyson Ross (35).

Frederickson struggled with his command early in the season after transferring from Virginia Tech, but he used a dominant performance April 1 against Cal in the Dante Benedetti Classic at AT&T Park as a springboard to turning his seasonaround. In that game, he struck out a career-high 13, allowed four hits in seven shutout innings and lowered his ERA from 6.84 to 5.40 as the Dons beat then-No. 7 Cal 5-1.

He finished the season 5-3 with a 4.54 ERA, striking out 109 and walking 61 in 75¹/³ innings. Opposing batters hit just .216 against him.

“I think I just started to pitch more like myself,” Frederickson said of his strong second half. “It wasn’t really anything technical. It was confidence, trusting my stuff and challenging guys.”

Frederickson features a mid-90s fastball and a slider he said he became comfortable throwing in all counts and situations as the year progressed. In his final two starts — against NCAA tournament teams San Diego and Dallas Baptist — he allowed two runs total and struck out 22 in 13 innings pitched.

“I’m a competitive guy who’s not going to give up no matter the situation and obviously I’m big and I throw hard,” Frederickson said. “My only weakness has been my control at times, and I really feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with it. I feel like I’m ready.”

melliser@sfexaminer.com

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