This college baseball season has already had its share of exciting pitching performances.. On the heels of yet another successful #FaedoFriday, it’s time to look at the Florida Gators ace.
The Florida Gators have produced some nice MLB Draft-ready pitchers of late. Alex Faedo is doing his part to continue that trend.
Faedo was part of an almost unbelievable pitching staff in 2016. The Gators sent six pitchers to the earlier rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft. Names like Dane Dunning, A.J. Puk, Logan Shore and Kirby Snead just to name a few. Faedo was arguably the best of the bunch.
The big right-hander — who stands at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds — was electric as a sophomore. He went 13-3 in 17 starts, posting a 3.18 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 104.2 innings while issuing only 21 free passes. A 1.81 walks per nine certainly says something about control.
Surgery on both knees this fall sidelined Faedo from workouts, but it didn’t stop him from moving up the Gators pitching chain. Last year’s Sunday starter initially looked like the bump to Friday nights — paired with the lack off offseason preparation — may be a struggle. He opened the season with a rough start, allowing four runs on four hits and an uncharacteristic three walks over 4.2 innings to William and Mary.\
He’s been lights out ever since.
Faedo bounced back with a huge start against then-ranked Miami, going 8.2 innings of shutout ball. He struck out eight and walked only one, allowing just two hits. Last night, he shut down Columbia for seven more scoreless innings.
That’s 15.2 innings without allowing a run for those bad at math. Add in 17 strikeouts and three walks over that same span, and just four hits and you have a pitcher in the proverbial zone.
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.
If you had to nitpick and find a flaw, I suppose you can look to his mechanics. He seems a bit jerky at some points in his delivery. That being said, it is pretty consistent, coming right at the plate, and despite the offseason knee issues, he’s never really struggled with arm problems.
There are two advantages that favor Faedo. Not having overpowering stuff, he already knows how to pitch, a trait that some younger pitchers tend to need work on, relying on a big fastball at the high school or collegiate levels. Secondly, Faedo has seemingly stepped up in every big game he’s needed to over his career. That competition has often come against SEC and ACC rivals, which are full of potential major leaguers on an annual basis.
It has also come on the USA Collegiate National Team, when he hurled 16 innings, posting a 3-0 record, a 0.56 ERA and a 21-to-3 strikeout-to-walk rate. Baseball America named him the top prospect on that team.
Faedo has nothing left to prove at the college level. He is well on his way to being the first college arm off the board and a top five pick.