The Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. “Future Friday” is a segment where we examine the bevy of prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The Detroit Tigers minor league season is over, and prospect evaluation sites are giving out end of the season awards. Baseball America gave out their 2018 Classification All-Star teams. Only one Tigers player made his league’s all-star team.
That’s a fair question. Fajardo was signed by the Tigers on February 9, 2017. He has spent the last two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. He pitched out of the bullpen in 2017 (as a 17-year-old) but was primarily a starter in 2018.
He threw 59.0 innings this year, making 14 appearances (13 starts). He posted a 1.07 ERA (2.38 FIP) and a 0.83 WHIP with an excellent 10.22 K/9 and 1.53 BB/9.
In 2017, at age 17, Fajardo pitched primarily out of the bullpen, with a 3.64 ERA, a 8.36 K/9 and 1.71 BB/9.
There’s not a whole lot more information out there on the young left-hander. He is listed at six-foot-three and 165 pounds, so once he fills out he will be an excellent size for a big league pitcher.
At 18 years old and playing against lower level competition, it’s hard to put much stock in Fajardo’s success. However, while the Tigers are loaded with right-handed pitching talent they are lacking in lefties. Gregory Soto, Matt Hall and Tyler Alexander are the only three LHP in Detroit’s top 30 prospects.
In the lower levels, the Tigers drafted Adam Wolf and Tarik Skubal this season, giving them a bit more depth from the left side. However, anytime you see a 6’3 left-hander who throws strikes and punches hitters out like Fajardo does, there’s reason to pay attention.
Perhaps Fajardo will get crushed at the higher levels and will fizzle out. Or, perhaps he will continue to display excellent control and will find his way to the big leagues.
The exciting thing about super young prospects is their development can go 100 different ways. For now, it’s exciting to see a young left-hander have this kind of success for the Detroit Tigers.