- Rating: 2.13
- 2022 stats: 1 G, 1.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 4.000 WHIP, 1.00 SO/BB, 62 ERA+
- Date of birth: July 26, 1992 (30 years old)
- 2022 earnings: $9,340 (via Spotrac)
- 2023 status: DFA’d by the Diamondbacks in August 2022, released in October 2022.
Lefty Paul Fry was taken in the 17th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft by the Seattle Mariners out of a Port Huron Community College in Michigan that surprisingly has supplied a lot of players with a Polish last name to the MLB draft.
By 2016 he was already pitching in the PCL, but was showing spotty command. Not much of a power baller, but a lefty, he really had to rely on his secondary stuff that, according to FanGraphs, was above-average. All that might work at lower levels, but when facing tougher competition he couldn’t always get away with it.
At the beginning of April 2017 he became headline of a somewhat remarkable trade as the Baltimore Orioles, never high on international prospects, decided to trade bonus pool money away to Seattle and pry Paul Fry (hey, it rhymes) away from the AL West.
What better place, for a reliever knocking on the MLB door, to be in than in Baltimore, where they would soon embark on a total tear down.
It indeed didn’t take very long for Fry to make his MLB debut for the Orioles. In June 2018 he is called up and until the end of the season makes 35 appearances, pitching to a 3.35 ERA and contributing with 8 holds. What stands out are the splits, where he holds right-handed batters to a 0.556 OPS. Left-handed batters prove to be more difficult to keep off bases with a 0.381 OBP.
In 2019 he is far less successful with a 5.34 ERA, but he bounces back in a shortened 2020 season only to fall back again in 2021 with severe command troubles. That doesn’t seem to have disappeared in 2022 and the Orioles decide to put him on waivers in May.
The Diamondbacks somewhat awkwardly bite at his availability on May 18 and even offer someone in return in the form of a trade. Young Venezuelan Luis Osorio crosses over to the Dominican training complex of the Orioles, while Fry is optioned to Reno. Apparently the D-Backs are desperately looking for left-handed help after having designated Oliver Perez for assignment.
It doesn’t take long for Fry to make his debut for Arizona, as he is called up to the majors to pitch in the series in Atlanta on June 1. He enters the game in the ninth inning that same day when the D-Backs are down 5-0 and faces the tough task of putting away the top of the Braves’ lineup. That doesn’t go that well and he issues 2 walks, gives up 2 hits and thus 1 run. On June 3 Fry is optioned back to Reno and doesn’t return to the majors.
In August he is outrighted and taken of the 40-man roster but goes unclaimed. He finishes the season in Reno with a respectable 4.40 ERA. Mid October he is released by the organisation and hits free agency.
Paul Fry’s apparent problem (small sample size alert) looks to be the lower velocity on both his fastball and slider and less movement. If he wasn’t already much of a guy with a lot of success, diminished velocity for a soft-tosser seems to be even bigger a problem.
Obviously he should be able to land a minor league contract somewhere and that organisation might enjoy a good dosis of humor as Paul Fry can claim to be a French fries expert, true to his nickname “papa frita”, which means French fry in Spanish, and that was invented by Latin American baseball players on his team in the Arizona Rookie League.
Happy FRYday and happy #PlayersWeekend!@_fryguy09 AKA Papa Frita claims he's an expert on ! Did he live up to his name? pic.twitter.com/EvWfVebIq0— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) August 23, 2019