DETROIT -- When the buzz settled from the College World Series, and the calf cramp had stopped barking, Alex Faedo could finally sit back and think about his month-long stretch that made him a first-round Draft pick of the Tigers, a CWS Most Outstanding Player and a national champion.
What stood out, Faedo said, was winning.
"I think the biggest thing," the University of Florida right-hander said on Wednesday at his introductory media conference, "is we'll always be known in Gator baseball history for being the first team to find a way to win the last game of the year."
That's the kind of attitude that, along with a power fastball and nasty slider, led the Tigers to select Faedo. It's the reason they were smiling as Faedo, having signed his first pro contract a day earlier, took in the moment.
"That kind of competitor, fearless at the big stage, that's what separates a No. 1 or 2 starter from a No. 3 or 4 starter," general manager Al Avila said. "Sometimes the No. 4 starter, his stuff is as good as the No. 1 guy. Well, why is that guy No. 1? Because the competitive effort there, the fearlessness, the mind-over-matter kind of theory.
"That's why some guys hit better seventh than if you put them third. They might have the same physical ability, but when it comes time, some guys are better hitting third. And you need all of them. You just need to figure out who fits where. And for us, I feel that he fits at the top of the rotation."
Faedo, the 18th overall selection in last month's Draft, reportedly signed for around or slightly above the slot value of just over $3.2 million. His arrival means the Tigers have signed all of their top 13 selections.
Asked if he has an affinity for the big stage, Faedo smiled.
"I sure hope so," he said. "Those are the most fun games for me to play."
Faedo will not fit into any rotation in the Tigers' system this summer. The work he put in for Florida, especially in the NCAA tournament, added up to enough innings that the Tigers preferred to give him some rest.
"He's thrown 130 innings, maybe a few more," scouting director Scott Pleis said. "So he's had a full season. He's put in a lot of work. So he'll report to Lakeland, and he'll do everything with all the other guys [in the Gulf Coast League], but he won't be throwing."
Once Faedo gets going, though, the Tigers are leaving open the possibility that he moves up the organizational ladder quickly, given his college experience. The Tigers' early-season promotion of 20-year-old Beau Burrows, their first-round pick two years ago, to Double-A Erie shows a willingness to challenge pitchers when they dominate at their respective levels.
For Faedo, who arrived in town a couple days ago and was in attendance for Tuesday's win over the Giants, it was hard not to think about Detroit.
"I've always loved and wanted to live in the city," Faedo said, "so hopefully one day I could be here. It's been really nice and you can tell how great of a city it is, and being at the game you could see how great the fans are around here.
"It's awesome just walking around the streets seeing Detroit Tigers hats and shirts on everywhere. It just gives me a warm feeling, a lot of fan support, and hopefully it's going to be a good ride. It seems like it's going to be a lot of fun."