Live Scouting Report: Alex Faedo, Interview, & Other Detroit Prospects
This Alex Faedo scouting report required a lot of patience. Originally, this game was scheduled for Friday the 3rd, but Mother Nature had other ideas. The skies darkened and down came the rain. And when I say rain, I mean a torrential downpour with hail, thunder, and tornado and flood warnings. Yeah, not a great night for a baseball game.
That turned Saturday into a doubleheader (with an hour and 20-minute rain delay to start game one) and a nine-hour day overall at the ballpark. But hey, I can’t think of a much better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than watching baseball and scouting some of the top prospects in the Toronto and Detroit farm systems.
Alex Faedo (RHP – DET)
When the Detroit Tigers selected Faedo with the 18th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, it wasn’t the first time Faedo had been drafted. The Tigers thought highly enough of Faedo coming out of Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa, Florida to draft him in the 40th round of the 2014 draft. Faedo passed on turning pro at that time, instead, going to the University of Florida where he pitched for three years. During those three seasons, Faedo pitched a combined 288.2 IP with a 2.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, and 10.8 K/9. The term “Faedo Friday” became a common phrase during his tenure as a Gator.
Alex looking sharper and sharper as the game goes on. Another 1-2-3 innings with a pair of K's. #FaedoFriday
E4 | #Gators 3, UGA 0
— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) April 29, 2017
After not pitching in the minors in 2017, Faedo started this season at High-A Lakeland and quickly moved up to Double-A Erie after just a dozen starts. He’s now seven games into his Double-A tenure with a 3.89 ERA and 1.18 WHIP after posting a 3.10 ERA and 1.02 WHIP at Lakeland.
On the mound, the 6’5″ Faedo uses a 3/4 arm slot and sits in the 92-93 mph range with his fastball, but can add a few ticks when needed. The pitch is especially difficult for right-handers due to the heavy sink and arm-side run he gets on the pitch. Unfortunately, the radar gun was out of order Saturday night, but sitting behind home plate and seeing the life on the pitch plus the pop of the catcher’s mitt, is enough to know that Faedo’s fastball is going to be a weapon for him moving forward. Good luck right-handed batters.
For secondary pitches, Faedo’s slider is his bread and butter. Generally thrown in the mid-80’s, Faedo gets sharp two-plane movement on the pitch, which causes fits for batters on both sides of the plate. This is easily a 60-grade slider and likely closer to 65-grade with 70-grade potential down the road. Faedo shows great command of the pitch and can throw it for strikes or bury it for the punchout. These two pitches alone would make Faedo a very dangerous arm coming out of a Major League bullpen. However, there’s much more upside here than just a bullpen arm, that’s for damn sure.
But what about his change-up? Glad you asked. Faedo has a pretty good one of those too. Though he doesn’t throw it quite as often, I did notice some solid fade on the pitch Saturday night, though his command of the pitch wasn’t where I’m sure he would’ve liked it to be.
Overall, even though the night ended sooner than expected, there was a lot that impressed me about Faedo on the hill. This Detroit system is chalked full of talent top to bottom and Faedo has a chance to emerge as a rotation mainstay for the Tigers for years to come. And when I say mainstay, I mean a potential top of the rotation arm. There’s still a lot of work to be done, as Faedo hints below, but he’s off to a great start so far in his professional career.
Interview with Alex Faedo
Q: How do you feel your start went tonight?
AF: “Not great. They (Erie) had some really long ABs and fought off some good pitches. They’re a good team and the couple times I needed to make pitches, you know, I didn’t make pitches. They did a good job executing on mistakes.”
Q: With the postponement yesterday due to the rain and rain delay tonight, does that affect how you get prepared for games?
AF: “No never, I’m from Florida so I’m used to rain delays and stuff.”
Q: With all the talent you guys have down here and throughout the system especially on the mound, I know it’s hard to look ahead too much, but you got to be excited about all the talent you guys have here for the future.
AF: “Yeah, the organization is really good. I mean, everyone always talks about guys that are ranked certain slots, but a lot of the guys that aren’t ranked are really good baseball players. I think top to bottom the whole organization is definitely getting a lot of improvement. It’s really good. I think the guys that we drafted this year will definitely help that as well.”
Q: What was the biggest change for you going from the SEC/college to the minor leagues?
AF: “I think baseball is baseball. If you execute your pitches and you compete, you should be alright. I mean, the talent is different. I think just the day to day life is just a different part of it and how you kind of have everything for you. You’re playing every day, it’s just a little different.”
Q: I know you’re always looking to get better all around, but is there any one particular thing you’re working on, whether it be a pitch or delivery, etc?
AF: “You’re always tinkering with things, whatever helps you the most. Whatever Willie (Erie SeaWolves pitching coach Willie Blair) or the organization thinks I need to work on then I’m always okay with doing that. They’re trying to make me a better pitcher now and in the future. So, anything they tell me, I work on, but nothing too big.”
Q: Was there any pitcher when you were growing up that you modeled your own game around?”
AF: “No, I think everyone throws differently. I just kinda throw however I feel comfortable. There’s no set in stone way to pitch. I mean, you throw it overhand. Besides that, I think everyone has their strengths pitching their own way. I don’t think there’s that set in stone way. I just like watching baseball. Just learning how pitchers maybe attack situations and stuff like that, but never like ‘Oh, I should change my mechanics or copy this guy,’ because that works well for him but it might not work well for me.”
Q: How old were you when you first realized that pitching in the Major Leagues was a real possibility for you?
AF: “Umm, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not there yet so it’s kind of hard to answer. Anything can happen still. Obviously, I’m getting closer pitching in Double-A now, but you just got to keep working. I guess I can answer that question if I ever do make it.”
That was a perfect answer to the last question I asked Alex. He’s 100 percent right, he’s not in the Major Leagues yet and still has plenty of work to put in before he gets there. Anyone that has seen him pitch knows that he has the stuff to become a big league pitcher, but Faedo isn’t looking that far ahead yet. He’s focused on honing his craft in Double-A with the help of the Erie coaching staff. That’s a great mentality to have.
Isaac Paredes (SS/3B – DET)
My first impression of Isaac Paredes when he strolling into the on-deck circle roughly 10 feet from me was, “Damn, this is one strong looking dude.” Listed at 5’11 and 225 pounds, Paredes sure does pack a punch at the plate with a swing geared for above-average power.
At the plate, Paredes sets up with a slightly wider stance than most. As the pitch is being delivered, he loads his weight onto his back leg accompanied by a modest leg kick, and shifts his weight forward with a slight upper-cut swing. On the pitch above, he just got under it, flying out to left field.
A lot of scouts have been tepid on Paredes power potential, with some even saying he only has 10-15 HR pop. With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Take those numbers and double them. From what I’ve seen, Paredes’ quick bat speed, swing path, and overall strength are going to lead to home run totals north of 20. Loading onto the back leg and a clean transfer of weight forward are two things I love to see for a hitter’s power potential and Paredes checks off all the boxes there.
When looking at his contact skills and overall plate approach, a lot of those boxes gets checked as well. Paredes makes a ton of contact and rarely strikes out. For his career, his strikeout sits at 13.6% and 15.5% so far this season during his first go around in the High-A and Double-A levels. On top of that, Paredes can take a walk, too, as evident by his 9.9% walk rate this season.
As a hitter, there’s a lot to like here. The only area Paredes lacks in is speed, but who cares when you have a hitter with legit .280/.350/.500 potential and the raw power and swing geared for 25 home runs per season. The biggest question right now surrounding Paredes is where his long-term defensive home will end up being. He’s played mostly shortstop but has shifted to 2B and 3B after the arrival of Willi Castro. Ultimately, I think he ends up at the hot corner where his arm will play just fine.
Keep in mind too, Paredes is only 19 years old and already showing maturity at the plate beyond his years. There’s a lot to be excited about here.
Daz Cameron (OF – DET)
It’s not just New Hampshire that has second-generation talent on their roster. Erie’s got a good one, too. The son of 17-year veteran and 2001 all-star, Mike Cameron, Daz is making his way through the Detroit system in hopes of following in his father’s footsteps and playing Major League baseball.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get much good video on Cameron, but you don’t need video from me to get excited about his potential, both at the plate and in center field. Defensively, Cameron is a gold-glove caliber outfielder. There weren’t many balls hit his way surprisingly, but every one that was, he made look routine, including a hard hit ball into the left-center field gap that he got a great jump on and tracked down with ease. Great jumps are common for Cameron, and paired with his plus speed, he’s able to cover a lot of ground in center field and into the gaps.
At the plate, Cameron has made major strides over the last two seasons. Coming into the 2017 season, he had a pedestrian .233 average with just a pair of dingers and a 27.9% strikeout rate in 331 at-bats. Even with the struggles, you knew it was only a matter of time before he got it going. In 834 at-bats since the start of 2017, Cameron is hitting .275 with 22 home runs, 54 steals, and an improved 23.4% strikeout rate. All that improvement after some mechanical changes to his swing before the 2017 season.
That power-speed upside is what you should come to expect from Cameron moving forward. There’s not a ton of power here, but his smooth swing and quick bat speed should translate into double-digit pop to go along with 30-plus steals and a solid batting average.
Willi Castro (SS – DET)
Just acquired from Cleveland in the Leonys Martin deal, Castro has the makings of a solid Major League shortstop. That’s always the question with shortstop prospects. No matter who they are, the question “will they stick at short” is always asked. Between what I saw Saturday and other video I’ve watched on him, Castro should definitely be able to remain at the position long-term. His footwork is sound and he has a plus arm with decent accuracy across the diamond. I didn’t get video of either, but Castro made a couple good picks at short on tough hops.
Offensively, Castro has two above-average tools in his bat to ball skills and his speed, which is evident above in his 2-RBI triple during the 2nd game of the doubleheader. Castro is still developing as a base stealer but has improved his success rate on stolen base attempts in each of the last two seasons from 57.1% in 2016 to 67.9% in 2017, and now up to 76.5% this season through his first 17 attempts. With continued development there, Castro has 25-plus steal wheels.
His contact skills have also improved over the last 12-18 months. After hitting .255 through his first three minor league campaigns, Castro raised that average to .290 last season, posting the best slash line of his young career. Yes, that average has regressed some this year, but he’s a 21-year-old getting his first taste of Double-A. Castro’s swing is geared more for line drives than over the fence power, but he should settle into the 10-15 HR range down the road.
Longterm, the batting average should be fine, but what will determine if Castro hits near the top of the order or in the bottom third will be his plate discipline. His career minor league walk rate sits at 4.6%, though that number has risen to 6.5% in 2018.
Overall, Castro has all the tools to become a starting shortstop in the Major Leagues. If that happens, Detroit will make out quite well in the Martin trade.