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2017 Phillies Draft Preview: Alex Faedo, RHP

Faedo's Florida's Friday Fastball frower.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida vs Texas Tech Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Faedo is a 21 year old 6’5", 225 lbs RHP who is the Friday night starter for the Florida Gators. He features a 3 pitch mix (Fastball, Slider Changeup) and throws from a 34 arm slot. He might have the highest floor in the draft. Similar to my review of Aaron Nola 3 years ago I think Faedo could probably jump straight to the Majors and survive. His Floor is probably #3 Starter and his ceiling is probably very good #2 Starter. That’s not a very broad delta, but there’s job security in safety, making Faedo a decent bet to be gone by the 8th pick (though not a guarantee, or I wouldn’t bother writing this).

Possibly the biggest red flag for Faedo (and it’s small) is that he had bilateral arthroscopic surgery on his knees last fall. I haven’t been able to find the reason for the procedure and there are quite a few reasons to have arthroscopic knee surgery, many minor, some chronic, a few would be red flags. With no information on what it was and with Faedo back on the mound this Spring, I won’t speculate on how it will or will not affect draft stock. I’m sure team doctors will look at scans, photos and reports and determine on their own if it’s a concern. Public scouting reports seem to brush it off, so we’ll assume it’s nothing until shown otherwise. That said, if a few teams see it as a minor risk, it could be what drops Faedo to the 8th pick.

As for Faedo’s pitches he doesn’t have overpowering no doubt stuff, but he also doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses. His Fastball is Plus (sits 91-94 with good arm side movement and sink), his Slider is pretty filthy consistently showing Plus (and flashing Plus-Plus), his Changeup is likely Average though it’s only seen in public slightly more frequently than Richard Simmons these days. Truth is between his hard Slider, which I have yet to see any hard contact on in video or the time I saw him in person, and his Fastball, he doesn’t need the Changeup much. Most reports have it being thrown maybe a handful of times a game, perhaps 4 or 5 of his 70-80 pitches. That said his release point is consistent across the 3 pitches and his mechanics are consistent enough that I expect a pro coach could work with him to get that pitch to reliably average, maybe better.

Faedo’s best tool (until some inconsistency this Spring he wrote off to overthinking things) is his Command. It’s probably the best in this class. His mechanics can look a little wonky, but they’re consistent and he starts and ends properly (more on that with the video below) allowing him to work various parts of the zone with either pitch. He’s also the odd amateur who occasionally pitches backwards pretty frequently (starting hitters with his off speed stuff). That will allow him to dominate his way through A-ball later this year as a pro too. That will be more common in higher levels though, so he’ll need to further tighten his command and refine that Changeup.

The video below is from a little over a month ago and shows the good and a little of the bad with Faedo (video from Steve Givarz). The good: he works fast, I don’t see him getting run on a ton; his landing foot pretty consistently points Home; everything is down and moves. The bad: boy you can really see the ball the entire delivery can’t you? I want to expand on that before I move on. Faedo is a K machine and doesn’t walk many guys, but he can give up hits in bunches. Some scouting reports have noted his looping delivery may give hitters on theirs second and third time up a chance to pick up the ball really well and get a better read. I’ve seen a report or two suggest altering his mechanics to hide it better (good way to get fired: draft a guy top 5 and completely overhaul his delivery). If he ends up a #3 Starter in terms of production, this is why. If he ends up a #2, it’s because this turned out to not be the issue some thought it could be. Predicting the future is a fickle mistress. The other piece of bad doesn’t really happen in this video, but wasn’t uncommon last year and has popped up a few times early this year, sometimes late in games Faedo’s balance seems to worsen and he falls off to his glove side more. This causes him to miss to his glove side.

Faedo’s 2017 season has been a mix of sheer dominance and very down to earth adequateness. He’s had a few games in which he piled up Walks, which is not something that happened the first 2 years at Florida. While he explained this as him overthinking things and worrying about his pitch sequencing teams may see it as a red flag. To his benefit, top College Pitchers underwhelming early has been a theme in 2017. No one is setting themselves clearly ahead of the pack and with a strong finish Faedo could find himself a top 5 pick. I like Faedo and would not be upset to see the Phillies pick him, but he’s not my first choice. He feels very consistent with a lot of guys the Phillies already have. My inner riverboat gambler would rather gamble on a guy with a true game changing ceiling. I just don’t see that with Faedo.