DETROIT -- For the second time in four years, the Tigers have drafted Alex Faedo. Their final pick from 2014 became their top pick in the 2017 MLB Draft on Monday.
With a wide-open draft board, a youth movement ahead and a system that could use talent at a lot of positions, the Tigers went a familiar route in many ways.
Taking Faedo -- the heralded right-hander from the University of Florida -- marks the third consecutive year the Tigers have drafted a pitcher with their top pick, the second time in five years they've drafted a UF pitcher, and the second time they've drafted Faedo, their 40th-round pick out of high school three years ago.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Faedo and Florida were on the field when he was drafted Monday night. His family reportedly watched on MLB Network from inside the stadium as the Tigers made their pick. An hour later, Faedo threw two scoreless innings and recorded the save as the Gators clinched a berth in the College World Series in Omaha, recording the final out on a nasty breaking slider.
He told the Gainesville Sun afterwards that he did not want to know about the Draft until after the game
Now 21, the Tampa-area prep product - -a former teammate of the late Jose Fernandez at Braulio Alonso High School --- has blossomed with the Gators. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior became the ace of Florida's staff last year, gained strength and helped lead the Gators to the NCAA Super Regionals. He went 7-2 with a 2.60 ERA over 17 starts this regular season, striking out 132 batters over 107 1/3 innings, and owns a 26-6 career record at Florida.
"The Tigers are extremely excited to have drafted one of the most polished right-handed pitchers in all of college baseball," Tigers scouting director Scott Pleis said in a statement. "Faedo throws in the low to mid-90s with a plus slider and a changeup. We couldn't be happier to have him in the fold."
Faedo underwent knee surgery going into the season, but has re-emerged as the season went on, regaining velocity on his fastball while turning his slider into an out pitch.
Faedo ranked 11th on MLB Pipeline's list of Draft prospects, and was projected to be picked before the Tigers' top selection. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo projected him going 14th to the Royals in his final mock draft list Monday; Jim Callis had him going to the Yankees with the 16th overall selection.
Analysts and mock drafts had the Tigers going in various directions for their first pick, from college players to high school stars, power pitchers to sluggers to athletic position players.
Though some have noted Faedo has an unorthodox delivery, that label hasn't scared the Tigers away from pitchers in the past, notably when they traded for a promising young right-hander named Max Scherzer in 2009.
If Faedo signs, he'll join a Tigers system that has a crop of starting pitching prospects on the rise. Beau Burrows, Detroit's first-round pick in 2015, was promoted to Double-A Erie last week at age 20 after dominating hitters at Class A Advanced Lakeland. Burrows' promotion to Erie paired him with lefty Tyler Alexander, the Tigers' second-round pick in 2015.
Kyle Funkhouser, a steal of a fourth-round selection last year after a stellar career at Louisville, is 4-2 with a 2.75 ERA between Lakeland and Class A West Michigan in his first full pro season. Matt Manning, a 6-foot-6 right-hander drafted by Detroit with the ninth overall pick last year, entered the season ranked atop MLB Pipeline's Tigers prospect rankings and 74th in all of Minor League baseball.
The Tigers drafted again later Monday night with their second-round pick, the 57th overall selection.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.