The Detroit Tigers have lots of new faces thanks to a variety of trades. “Future Friday” is a new segment where we examine the newest prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The Detroit Tigers sold off a lot of veteran talent over the past year in exchange for prospects.
While it can be hard for fans to see all-stars like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila dealt, not to mention franchise icon Justin Verlander, the return can be an exciting batch of prospects who will become the next stars in Detroit.
‘Future Fridays,’ is a new weekly column where we pick a prospect and delve into their expected impact on the team. With so many new faces, we want to help Tigers fans identify the newest wave of Tigers players as they move into rebuilding mode.
Today we look at Alex Faedo, the Tiger’s number one draft pick in 2017.
Alex Faedo: NCAA Most Outstanding Player 2017
This past June Alex Faedo pitched in one of the highest leverage situations a college athlete can be placed in. Faedo and the Florida Gators found themselves in a semi-finals rubber match against the TCU Horned Frogs to decide who would move on in the NCAA College World Series.
Faedo gave both Florida Gator’s fans and Detroit Tiger’s fans something to cheer about as he dominated through 7.1 innings of work. Pitching his way to the NCAA 2017 Most Outstanding Player Award, Faedo led the Gators past the Horned Frogs and into the College World Series with ease.
Forlorn Tiger fans have something to be excited about in Faedo. He showed that he is already capable of hurling at an elite level by hitting the zone often and effectively while pitching with mettle.
Faedo struck out 11 of the 29 batters he faced in this game, a strikeout rate of 37.9%. He was mowing down Horned Frogs into the eighth inning. Faedo struck out the side in the second and recorded a strikeout in every full inning he pitched.
Faedo has an affinity for the first pitch strike. He put his first offering in the zone to 19 of 29 batters, 65.5% of the time. This allowed him to get ahead in the count and toy with TCU. Faedo was able to rack up a high strikeout rate due to his ability to jump ahead early.
In total, Faedo threw 64.4% of all of his pitches for strikes. As an illustration, only two 2017 Tiger starters were able to record a season average above this mark. Baseball-Reference.com lists Jordan Zimmerman and Justin Verlander’s strike percentages at 65.6% and 64.9% respectively.
In a pivotal game, Faedo did not shy away from his best. He showed the heart of a true competitor while on the mound.
He suffered an apparent leg injury in seventh, pitching with runners on first and second with two outs. Just when it looked like the tide started turning TCU’s way, Faedo stepped up, despite injury, and struck out the batter to end the inning.
He even pitched into the eighth, recording a ground out and a walk before being pulled. Faedo was gritty going deep into the game while working through the leg issue.
It was obvious to Tiger’s fans in 2017 that the pitching rotation lacked heart and grit. These are qualities that can’t easily be taught. Faedo has the fighting spirit that Tiger’s starters have lacked in recent seasons.
Of the 29 batters who squared off against Faedo, only two of them were able to connect for hits. Both of them singles. Faedo tore up TCU. He induced 5 ground outs, 3 fly outs, an infield pop up, and picked off a runner at first base.
Through all of 2017 Faedo posted outstanding stats on the hill. Floridagators.com reports his numbers as follows:
Era W-L IP H K BB
2.26 9-2 123.2 95 157 42
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Being a fan of a team going through a burn it to the ground rebuild is not always an easy thing. In times like these it’s hard to look at your team’s current roster without grimacing. With Alex Faedo, Tiger’s fans can have faith that their rebuild will eventually come to fruition.
Faedo shows he will be ready to compete when he gets the call up to the big league club. This is because he has the talent, winning mentality, and mental toughness to be a major league pitcher.