Can former first-round pick crack Tigers Opening Day roster out of the bullpen?

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It's been a tumultuous journey for former Tigers first round pick Alex Faedo. He struggled with inconsistency in the minors. Then he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. It wasn't looking good for Faedo, who pitched in the College World Series for the University of Florida.

Faedo finally got his first oppotunity in the big leagues in 2022. On May 4, he started the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates, and pitched five innings, allowed two earned runs on eight hits and struck out one. It's been an up-and-down career for him ever since.

The main issue, other than health, is that he really only had two pitches — sometimes only one. The slider is his money-maker. It always has been. It's his best pitch by a mile. The problem is that it's his only effective pitch.

He's struggled to add life and/or velocity to his fastball throughout his career. He's also struggled to command it. When he is able to command it, he's a far better pitcher. When he can't, things do not go well.

Because of that, he's struggled after the first time through the batting order. Hitters have a .939 OPS against Faedo the second time through the order in his career. Because of that, it sure seems like the Tigers have plans to convert him into a reliever.

He pitched three games out of the bullpen last season, and didn't allow a run in six innings of work. He struck out seven. He's also been working exclusively out of the bullpen this spring, pitching eight innings striking out 12, and not walking a batter. He touched 97 mph on his fastball in yesterday's outing against the Twins.

He's also changed the grip on his changeup ($$$) to add more depth to it. It's been a long road, but he's made some nice adjustments as of late.

The problem for him now is that the Tigers have a bunch fo excess arms. It's going to be tough for Faedo to crack the Opening Day roster as a result. He has the stuff and ability to make a solid multi-inning relief option. But going north with the team is going to be a battle.

This doesn't mean he'll be stuck in the minors all year. He'll likely get a shot in the big leagues at some point. But it probably won't be Opening Day, and that's through no fault of his own