Rebels baseball:

Washington Nationals select UNLV’s Erick Fedde 18th overall

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV baseball pitcher Erick Fedde throws in the bullpen during a media availability day Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014.

UNLV junior Erick Fedde became the highest Rebel draft pick in 24 years today as the Washington Nationals selected the right-handed pitcher 18th overall in the first-year player draft.

Despite the Tommy John surgery that will sideline him for the next year, Fedde was too talented to slip past the top 20 picks. He was originally projected as a top-10 pick before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in early May.

“I am truly blessed to be picked by such an amazing organization,” Fedde said in a statement. “I can’t wait to be back on the field to show that they made a great decision.”

Fedde finished this season with a league-leading 1.72 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings to go along with an 8-2 record. He was a big reason the Rebels qualified for their first NCAA regional since 2005.

Fedde is the highest pick since pitcher Donovan Osborne went 13th overall in 1990 to the St. Louis Cardinals. The highest pick in program history is still third overall. That was 1986 and it was Matt Williams, who’s currently in his first year as the Nationals’ manager. The Washington connections don’t stop there.

Although he’s currently on the disabled list, outfielder Bryce Harper is still the face and the future of Washington. Harper and Fedde were actually on the same Las Vegas High team before Harper famously got his GED two years early and enrolled for one season at the College of Southern Nevada before the Nationals took him No. 1 overall in 2010.

Harper’s manager at CSN was Tim Chambers, who has since led UNLV for Fedde’s entire tenure.

“I am super proud of Erick and that the Nationals recognized his talent and drafted in the first round where he belongs,” Chambers said in a statement. “The team proved that they are not drafting a ligament; they are drafting a plus athlete that is going to heal."

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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