Tale of the Tape
Age on Draft Day: 21 years, 5 mos.
Weight: 225 lbs.
If you’ve followed the MLB draft closely over the last few years, or college baseball in general, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Alex Faedo - he’s started games for the Florida Gators since his freshman year, and served as the Gators’ Sunday starter (#3 guy) for an ultra-talented team that made the College World Series last season.
Even though he was pitching behind the Oakland’s future 2016 draft picks in the rotation, (A.J. Puk, taken with the #6 pick and Logan Shore, taken at #47), Faedo’s sophomore season was as good as any pitcher in the nation: 3.13 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 104 innings, good for an 11.4 K/9.
Faedo wasn’t a dark horse for a high selection coming into his first draft-eligible season, despite pitching behind Puk and Shore - in fact, the opposite was true. Faldo was at one time widely considered one of the top players to be picked this June - Baseball America ranked him as their top draft prospect back in January. Though he’s still ranked high (currently #11 in MLB.com’s latest update), Faedo went through surgeries on both of his knees last September, missed baseball activities in the fall, and started out a bit slowly this season - which could have opened the door for two or three other college starters to jump him in the latest consensus prospect rankings.
Any potential fall in Faedo’s stock doesn’t make a lot of sense because A) his 2017 numbers have been just as electric as 2016 (84 strikeouts in 72 innings, 2.63 ERA) and B) his knee procedures were considered minor and seemed to have gone without incident. There could be some prospect fatigue (the new consensus top college starter, Kyle Wright, is a more recent arrival on draft write-ups), better competition among college arms, or a general concern about Faedo’s future ceiling.
Faedo is currently a three-pitch guy. His fastball sits around 93 mph and can touch the mid-90s - Faedo experienced a slight drop in velocity earlier this spring, but that was probably expected after the surgeries. The fastball flashes nice movement on a consistent basis with cutting and sinking action that generates whiffs, so it’s pretty refined. A lot of three-year college starters don’t have that combination of above-average velocity and fastball movement at this point in their development.
Faedo’s best secondary is a slider, probably one of the best in the entire draft class and a true plus pitch that flashes plus-plus. The slider grades out as pretty much equal to his fastball - he’s usually comfortable throwing it at any point in an at-bat and Faedo sits in the mid-80s velocity-wise with his best offspeed.
The third pitch is a changeup, which is unquestionably behind his two plus pitches. It’s just an average pitch at this point (though some reports say above-average) and Faedo doesn’t throw it nearly as often as the fastball or slider.
The current state of the changeup depends on the context for Faedo deciding to throw it - if he’s using it less because he can get hitters out with just two plus pitches, it could be presently better than average (and scouts just haven’t seen it enough). Or he could lack a little more confidence in throwing it consistently, suggesting ample development is needed for the change down the road.
Faedo doesn’t waste much time with his delivery - he begins in an athletic position and almost looks as if he’s throwing out of the stretch in his normal windup. He delivers from a three-quarters arm slot and gets good reviews on the command of his pitches, especially his fastball. Faedo’s frame is already mostly filled out so there’s not much more projection left with his stuff and at over 200 lbs. he’s not really athletic.
Even though Faedo has been jumped by Kyle Wright and J.B. Bukauskas as the consensus top college arm, they’re all pretty close. Bukauskas has some injury history, while Wright doesn't quite have the track record - even if Faedo’s stuff is presently maxed out, he’s a high floor, #2 ceiling starter. Teams can dream on Bukauskas and Wright a little more than Faedo due to untapped projection, but you pretty much know you’re getting a major league contributor in the rotation, at the relative worst with Faedo.
Projected Draft Range
Faedo may have fallen a bit from his preseason draft projection, but he’s still a good bet to go between picks 7-15. Faedo may well go outside of the top 10, but he would present a tremendous value for teams picking in that 11-15 range so it’s hard to see him falling further than that. Faedo was previously drafted in the 40th round in 2014 by Detroit.
Does He Make Sense for the Astros?
Faedo would almost certainly be the best player available at 1.15. The Astros are lacking in advanced arms like Faedo who could reach the majors fairly quickly, but I think it’s unlikely he makes it there unless something crazy happens on draft day.
Will He Sign?
Major League Comp.
Faedo has a little Joe Musgrove to him, with similar fastball velocity, slider usage and good command but with a better prep track record and a little more upside than Musgrove.