3. The league is adjusting to Alex Faedo
As someone who followed Faedo closely throughout the minors, I was shocked that the Detroit Tigers were getting any sort of burn from Faedo as a starting pitcher. His fastball had regressed, the organization changed his arm slot, his slider lost the bite it once had at Florida, and then he ended up having Tommy John Surgery.
I thought if anything, Faedo had a potential future in the bullpen where maybe his fastball would play up, and perhaps his slider could be an out pitch in short stints. Nevertheless, the Tigers needed Faedo with their string of injuries and early results were promising.
While Faedo’s fastball shows above-average movement attributes, it still averages just 92.8 mph and hitters are feasting to a .316 batting average and .606 slugging. Like Skubal, Faedo has struggled particularly in June:
Heading into this month, Faedo held an ERA of 3.00 with a FIP of 4.28. Interestingly, his FIP hasn’t ballooned nearly as much as his ERA in June, suggesting some possible bad luck with the defense behind him.
Still, the league is very cat-and-mouse. Once hitters find tendencies or simply see guys enough, they’re able to get a book on a pitcher. That book gets passed around the clubhouse and then other teams can see through their preparation how hitters have success. It’s cliche to talk about adjusting to the adjustments, but that is what Faedo facing.
He’s in the bottom third of the league in chase rate, strikeout percentage, xBA, xERA, average exit velocity, xSLG, and barrel percentage. All metrics point to Faedo not being able to even generate soft contact, let alone swings and misses.
Faedo’s recent struggles aren’t any fault of his own–I didn’t think he would make 10 starts in his major league career, never mind this season. He’s been thrown in the fire while trying to find his footing post-surgery; a tall task for any rookie hurler.