Alex Faedo Makes Strides In 2019
As unusual as it sounds, 2017 first-round righthander Alex Faedo is still learning the definition of an offseason.
"It's weird,” Faedo said. "In my first offseason, I had been shut down, so I didn't really know when to start all that. Then last year I learned from that, getting ready earlier, having that season under my belt, so I know what to be prepared for.”
The 24-year-old Faedo entered this offseason coming off his strongest campaign since entering the organization two years earlier, fresh off a College World Series championship as the ace of the Florida pitching staff.
In 2019 he made 22 starts at Double-A Erie and recorded a 3.90 ERA while ranking third in the Eastern League with 134 strikeouts in 115.1 innings. His strikeout rate climbed from 8.8 per nine innings in 2018 to 10.4 in 2019.
For Faedo, a return to the EL meant a better sense of preparation.
"I'm trying to do a better job at pitching inside, so I can open up the outside part of the plate,” Faedo said. "I love my changeup. I love the action on it. I'm trying to get it to slow down because all my pitches are so close together in velocity that it doesn't give a big differential.”
Faedo’s four-seam fastball added a few ticks in 2019, after an initial drop in velocity at the start of his career.
"I’m trying to stay on top of the baseball when I throw it,” Faedo said. "When I get on top of it, it plays a lot better and gets through the zone a lot better.
"I know I can manipulate it by getting on the inside of it and get more run on the ball, but I'm not really trying to sink the ball as of yet. I think I've got to master getting on top of the ball, driving it through, and getting the good carry on it.”
Poised for a move to Triple-A Toledo in 2020, Faedo’s focus remains on more of the same. Taking what he knows and simply sharpening.
"I feel like everyone's always trying to get better,” Faedo said. "I want to be able to look back on this season and be like, 'I helped the bullpen out a lot.' "
— With the first selection in the Rule 5 draft, the Tigers selected 22-year-old righthander Rony Garcia from the Yankees. Garcia split the 2019 season between high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, recording a 4.01 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, and 129 strikeouts over 130.1 innings.
— The Tigers made two minor league Rule 5 picks, first taking 23-year-old righthander Ruben Garcia from the Orioles and then 23-year-old third baseman Brian Schales from the Twins.
Garcia posted a 2.01 ERA between short-season Aberdeen and low Class A Delmarva. His potential is rooted in a return to health, in addition to some positive retooling to his delivery. The Tigers are looking to Schales, who also has played second base, to fill gaps in the Triple-A Toledo lineup in 2020.