While the 2017 MLB draft has been a surprising one thus far, the Detroit Tigers stuck to their script, selecting Alex Faedo with the No. 18 overall pick. Faedo, a righthander from the University of Florida, was originally drafted by the Tigers in the 40th round of the 2014 MLB draft.
The Tigers were linked to Faedo early in the draft cycle. ESPN’s Keith Law predicted the Tigers would pick Faedo in his first mock draft of the spring before the talented righty saw his draft stock rise with an excellent spring for the Gators. In 17 starts, Faedo limited opponents to a 2.60 ERA with 132 strikeouts in 107 1⁄3 innings.
As is the norm these days, the biggest talking point with the Tigers’ first round pick will be his signing bonus. With the No. 18 overall selection, the Tigers are allotted a bonus pool of $3,214,600 for that pick. They have $6,520,100 to spend on all 40 of their draft picks, and can stretch some of that first round money to cover later round picks if Faedo takes an under-slot deal.
Minor League Ball’s Wayne Cavadi profiled Faedo in depth back in March.
His stuff isn't overpowering, but filthy nonetheless. Most will confirm he has two plus-pitches, that often play plus-plus. MLB Pipeline gives both his fastball and slider a grade of 60, but say both can touch 70. His fastball touches 92 to 95 miles per hour, but has been clocked higher when he unloads. His slider, once inconsistent, may be the best the college ranks have to offer. It hits as high as 87 according to most reports and has a serious bite. If batters make contact, it’s not very hard, and it has become a big time out pitch for the righty. He adds in a seldom-used changeup that hits in the lower 80s. The lack of use makes it his "worst" offering, but it is still an above-average offering.
The draft itself has been a bit wild so far. The Minnesota Twins bucked conventional wisdom when they selected prep shortstop Royce Lewis with the No. 1 overall pick. Brendan McKay, the presumed first overall pick heading into this spring (and even as late as this week), went fourth to the Tampa Bay Rays. Prep superstar Hunter Greene was drafted second by the Cincinnati Reds, with lefthander MacKenzie Gore (third) and Vanderbilt righthander Kyle Wright (fifth) rounding out the top five.
The real fireworks started soon after. The Milwaukee Brewers made a surprise selection at No. 9 overall, taking UC Irvine second baseman Keston Hiura. Soon after, the Chicago White Sox took third baseman Jake Burger, a player who was projected closer to the bottom of the first round (if not in the compensation round). Righthander J.B. Bukauskas, a potential top-five pick earlier this spring, slid all the way down to the Houston Astros at No. 15 overall. The New York Yankees followed that pick up with another surprise, taking South Carolina righthander Clarke Schmidt with the 16th overall pick.
The Tigers will make a second selection on Monday with the No. 57 overall pick.