Tim Fedroff is so very close now to the majors. The 2005 Hillsborough High School graduate is in his second year of starting in center field for the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in Columbus in the International League.
The 26-year old, who has been an MiLB.com Organization All-Star the last two seasons, has done pretty much everything in his six years in the minors.
He was plucked by the Indians in the seventh round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2008 after a standout career at the University of North Carolina. He has progressed through the Indians system with stops in the New York-Penn, Carolina, Eastern and International League.
Only one stop remains and that’s Cleveland, not so far from where Fedroff roams the outfield at Huntington Park Stadium where the Clippers play.
“It is not something I can control,” said Fedroff, one of five outfielders on the Indians’ 40-man roster. “I can only go out and play the game hard every day and be ready when my opportunity comes.”
He batted .238 in 11 games for the Indians in spring training, but was optioned to Columbus before the season. He hit .316 in 123 games and 468 at-bats with the Clippers last year, slugging 12 homers and driving in 54 runs. He hit .325 with nine homers and 32 RBI in 69 games for the Clippers in 2011 after being promoted from Akron of the Eastern League.
He was hitting .242 through 17 games through Sunday with a double and three RBI.
“He has proven himself at every level,” said his high school coach Norm Hewitt. “He’s gone beyond expectations.
“By the end of the season,” added Hewitt, “you are going to see him up at the major league level.”
Hewitt saw the talent in Fedroff very early, bringing him up to play against older players.
“In the summer of his eighth grade, we brought him to our senior legion camp,” Hewitt said. “In one game he came to bat against a pretty good lefty and got three hits off of him. From that moment on, I knew he was something special.”
He led Hillsborough to a NJSIAA Group IV and Somerset County Tournament titles in 2005. He hit 34 homers in 288 at-bats during his scholastic career. He was also an outstanding pitcher.
He’s now played in 511 and had 2,226 plate appearances, and 1,935 bats in the minor leagues along with many, many miles of travel.
“I enjoy the traveling aspect,” Fedroff said. “I also enjoy seeing and experiencing new cities and playing in different stadiums.”
Fedroff said the biggest challenge was getting used to the number of games played.
“The biggest adjustment was getting used to the schedule of professional baseball and developing a routine,” Fedroff said. “It wasn’t hard to handle, it just took some time to gain experience.”
His route to the majors might have been delayed this past offseason when the Indians signed Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, two players who took spots Fedroff may have been able to win. Swisher, however, was moved to first base and Bourn to left. Bourn is now on the 15-day disabled list. Drew Stubbs started in center for the Indians on Sunday against the Astros, and Ryan Rayborn was in left.
Fedroff said he can only do what he can control, and that’s to play as well and as hard as he can from day to day.