Tigers first round draft pick Alex Faedo talks about coming to Detroit. Robin Buckson, The Detroit News
Detroit — If you watched him pitch in the College World Series, you already got a window into his mental makeup.
“Yeah, watching him pitch, he seems like a bulldog out there,” Justin Verlander said. “This is a good day. I am excited and happy for the organization. Looks like they got a good one.”
The Tigers introduced their No. 1 draft pick, right-handed pitcher Alex Faedo, who led the University of Florida to its first College World Series title last month. The Tigers signed him to a deal worth $3.5 million.
“Just mentally tough,” said Scott Pleis, the Tigers director of amateur scouting. “You saw that if you watched the College World Series. Put him in a tough spot, he came through every time, battled, never wavered. It was easy to see at that level. Pure gamer. He always showed up when it was his time to pitch.”
Faedo was 2-0, allowing no earned runs and striking out 22 over 14.1 innings over two CWS starts, earning Most Outstanding Player honors.
“It’s very exciting,” said Faedo, who spent the last three days in Detroit with his mother, father and two younger brothers. “The one thing I know about the Tigers is, being a Rays fan my whole life, I got to see Verlander and their pitching staff just shove against us consistently.
“I know it’s a great organization…It’s really exciting to be here and hopefully keep learning more and more about the history, and hopefully, add to the history of this organization.”
The Tigers are shutting Faedo down for the rest of this season. He will not pitch until next spring.
"He’s thrown 130 innings, maybe a few more,” Pleis said. “So he’s had a full season. He’s put in a lot of work. So, he’ll report to Lakeland and he’ll do everything with all the other guys but he won’t be throwing.”
Faedo said he will use the time to build his body.
“For me, I think it’ll be good to have a nice offseason,” he said. “It started a little earlier than I expected but I think that’s OK. I’m really happy to try to start really working out with the strength and conditioning people and try to get ready and build for next year and the years going on from now.”
Faedo already has a four-pitch arsenal. He throws a four-seam and a two-seam (sinking) fastball — 92 to 95 mph. When he pitched out of the bullpen, his fastball touched 98 mph. He has a plus slider and a developing change-up.
His pitch mix is very similar to that of Michael Fulmer, down to the change-up being the final piece to the puzzle.
“I feel like it’s a really good pitch,” Faedo said of his change-up. “I threw it a lot this summer and I feel really comfortable with it. I threw it when I came back before the season in intrasquad games and I thought it was really good.
“In college, it wasn’t as needed, I guess.”
All he needed to dominate at the elite Division I level for three years (349 strikeouts in 289 innings) was his fastball and slider.
“That’s what we felt most comfortable with,” he said. “But I feel very comfortable throwing change-ups, as well. I hope I can get that into the repertoire here.”
He and his family spent the holiday touring the city and attending the Tigers-Giants game on Tuesday.
“I’m not from the city and I’ve always loved and wanted to live in the city,” he said. “Hopefully one day I could be here. You can tell how great of a city it is, and being at the game yesterday you could see how great the fans are around here.
“It’s awesome just walking around the streets seeing Detroit Tigers hats and shirts on everywhere. It just gives me a warm feeling, a lot of fan support and hopefully, it’s going to be a good ride.”