LAKELAND, Fla. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Tigers camp, it was Detroit's No. 3 prospect (No. 59 overall), Alex Faedo. The Tigers took Faedo with the No. 18
LAKELAND, Fla. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Tigers camp, it was Detroit's No. 3 prospect (No. 59 overall), Alex Faedo.
The Tigers took Faedo with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, marking the third straight year that the organization had selected a pitcher in the first round. Though his stock fell a bit during his junior season at Florida, the 6-foot-5 right-hander excelled down the stretch, ultimately garnering Most Outstanding Player honors in the College World Series -- he posted a 0.32 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 27 1/3 postseason innings -- while leading the Gators to a national title.
• Tigers' camp report
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MLB Pipeline: As a junior, you received College World Series Most Valuable Player honors and helped to lead Florida to a national title. How important was it for you to finish your college career on the high note you did?
Alex Faedo: We came close to winning the CWS my first two years there, so it was big that we were able to bounce back from there and make it back last spring. You obviously want to do great every game, but I think your teammates respect when you can step up in big games. For me to be able to do that and help my team like that was special.
MLB Pipeline: What was your reaction when you learned that the Tigers had drafted you in the first round with the No. 18 overall pick?
Faedo: I was throwing in the Super Regional game at the time -- I actually had come out of the bullpen to close out the game to go to the CWS. I think I was warming up at the time I was picked, so I wasn't involved with any of the negotiations or anything like that. I had a good idea that Detroit was interested, and I was interested in them. I found out after we won the game -- we dogpiled to go to Omaha and everyone was telling me congrats. It was a different experience than most guys have when they're picked.
MLB Pipeline: The Tigers decided to delay your pro debut until 2018. What was the reason behind that, were you on board with that?
Faedo: I threw a lot of innings in college, a lot of high-pressure situations and close games that probably extended my pitch counts more than usual. I probably would have only thrown the last month of the Minor League season, so the thought was not to risk anything. Everyone here is around pro ball all the time, so I trusted them and knew that they'd do whatever was in my best interest.
MLB Pipeline: You had the opportunity to participate in big league camp this spring and pitched well in your lone appearance. Did it give you a taste of what the Major Leagues might be like?
Faedo: It was awesome that I got to throw in big league camp, because that's a very special accomplishment, but I know there's a lot more work that I need to put in. It was great to get back out there again -- it didn't feel any different, back to usual. The only weird thing was that I had to warm up in the bullpen, because normally, as a starter, I have my whole routine. It was a great experience. I had a lot of family and friends there. It had been a long time since they had seen me throw, so for them to see that, given the circumstances made them very happy.
MLB Pipeline: What are some things you are looking forward to this year ahead of your pro debut? Any specific goals?
Faedo: I think you should always work on everything, because no one has it all figured out. There's about to be a lot more video of me and a lot more sabermetrics stuff, all the spin-rate stuff, so that's something I'll be working on. Beyond that, I want to pitch to win, be a good teammate and try to learn from the coaches and more experienced players as much as possible. I've been told you can learn something new in each league. So whatever leagues I'm in this year, I plan to take what I can from it and continue to get better.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.