The Tigers landed Faedo in the 2017 Draft just before he helped pitch the University of Florida to a College World Series title and earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the process. His struggles as a pro the following season, from a flattened slider to a drop in velocity, left some wondering whether that postseason run was simply a hot stretch or if his arm wore down; Faedo insisted he felt fine. His 2019 season at Double-A Erie restored some faith as well as his prospect standing.
The slider has always been the dominant out pitch in Faedo’s arsenal, with enough late movement to draw swings and misses or soft contact. The pitch betrayed him in 2018, as did a fastball that fell to 90-91 mph. Faedo came back in 2019 with a more upright delivery and consistent arm action, bringing his fastball back to the mid 90s with improved spin rate. His slider acts at times like two different pitches with varying speeds and break, depending on whether he’s trying to locate it for a strike or draw a swing and miss. The resulting mix and improved command pushed his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 3.14 in 2018 to 5.36 the following year. His changeup, a little-used pitch in college, improved with his fastball.
Faedo might never be the front-line starter some envisioned coming out of the College World Series, but he has the tools, frame and pitching instincts to fill a big-league rotation. His 2018 struggles forced him to grow into a professional pitcher, a lesson that could help keep him focused through challenges against more experienced hitters.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
A pair of knee surgeries after Faedo's sophomore year at Florida led to a sluggish start for the junior in 2017. But he finished strongly, turning in a dominant performance as the College World Series' Most Outstanding Player shortly after the Tigers took him at No. 18 overall in the June Draft. He didn't pitch after signing for $3.5 million, as Detroit erred on the side of caution after Faedo's long college season. Assigned to high Class A Lakeland for his debut, Faedo pitched well in the Florida State League but struggled in Double-A, allowing 15 home runs in 60 innings after receiving a mid-June promotion.
By the end of his final season with Florida, Faedo was back to full strength, featuring his plus fastball and one of the best sliders in the class. In his first pro season, though, he underwhelmed with his raw stuff, showing a slower arm that affected the life on all of his pitches and made him susceptible to the long ball in Double-A. After working at 92-95 mph as a junior, Faedo hovered around 90-91 mph with a flatter fastball in 2018. His slider regressed as well, showing less depth and bite and netting him fewer whiffs, and he struggled to execute his changeup without a lively fastball to work off of. He did throw a lot of strikes, though it's more control than command right now.
It's not uncommon for college pitchers to experience diminished velocity in their first full professional season, only to bounce back the next year once they have a better understanding of the physical demands of a full season. That's precisely what happened with Faedo, whose fastball and slider picked up again in 2019 in his return to Double-A. Faedo's return to form has his stock back on the rise, and he could be knocking on the door of the big leagues before long.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 65 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
Faedo's spot atop 2017 Draft boards was initially hurt by minor knee surgery the fall before his junior year and slightly lackluster stuff as a result at the start of his season. He did finish strongly and dominated in the College World Series shortly after the Tigers feel he dropped in their lap at No. 18 overall in the June Draft. He didn't pitch after signing as Detroit erred on the side of caution.
By the end of his final season with Florida, Faedo was back to full strength, featuring his plus fastball and one of the best sliders in the class. He'll sit around 93 mph and touch 95 regularly with good sink. He threw his slider too much in college, but it is a true out pitch that gets a lot of swings and misses. He'll flash a very good changeup, something he'll have to throw more often as a pro. He generally throws strikes, though it's more control than command right now.
Even though the Tigers went slightly over pick value to sign Faedo, he could prove to be a first-round bargain, a top-of-the-Draft talent found in the middle of the round. His Gators teammate A.J. Puk made it to Double-A in his first full season of pro ball, and Faedo's stuff allowed him to follow a similar fast track.