The Detroit Tigers selected right-hander Alex Faedo in the 40th round three seasons ago.
Tonight, with the No. 18 overall pick of the 2017 MLB draft, they selected him in the first round.
Faedo was ranked as the No. 14 overall prospect by Perfect Game and the No. 10 overall prospect by Baseball America. He was ranked as the best player available when the Tigers made their selection.
Faedo, 21, fits the Tigers profile: He is a big righty, listed at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and is considered one of the best power pitchers in this year’s draft class.
“The Tigers are extremely excited to have drafted one of the most polished right-handed pitchers in all of college baseball,” director of amateur scouting Scott Pleis said in a release. “We couldn’t be happier to have him in the fold.”
Faedo’s fastball sits at 92-95 m.p.h. and according to MLBPipeline.com, has a slider that ranks highly on the scouting scale. He also throws a changeup.
During MLB Network’s draft show, both Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz and Hall of Fame reporter Peter Gammons compared Faedo to former Royals pitcher Kevin Appier.
Smoltz called Faedo’s delivery unorthodox and said, “I think this guy is just funky enough that he can be miserable on hitters. He goes downhill with his fastball and he changes arm angles. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the hitter out.
“Alex Faedo is going to be able to upgrade his mechanics and use that funkiness to give the hitters fits. I think command will be the only issue. If he can get locked in with his command, he is going to be awfully tough.”
With the Gators this season, Faedo is 7-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings.
Gammons predicted Faedo would make it to the major leagues in short order.
“You talk to (Florida head coach) Kevin O’Sullivan, he’s one of his favorite players of all-time," Gammons said. "Reliable, he’s been a No. 1 starter for him for three years, he’s gone out on Friday nights and he’s got four pitches, he’s a horse. I know at times, some scouts worry about him – his velocity was down earlier in the season – and he throws a lot of sliders, one recent game he threw 84 out of 106 pitches for sliders, but that’s just his style.
“As Clayton Kershaw would say, a delivery can be part of your arsenal. It can be like another pitch because it is so deceptive. I think he’s got that. I think he’s a guy that’s going to get to the big leagues really fast.”
Faedo hails from Tampa, Fla., and was teammates with late Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in high school at Braulio Alonso High School.
The slotted bonus money for the No. 18 overall pick is $3.2 million.
Contact Anthony Fenech: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.
Detroit Free Press