Tigers Prospect Profile: Kenny Faulk

An unheralded draft pick in 2009, Kenny Faulk hasn't let that slow him down. He emerged as a shutdown closer for West Michigan in 2010, and has carried that success into 2011 with Lakeland. What does Faulk bring to the mound for the organization?

Kenny Faulk
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Height: 6-0
Weight: 210
Born: 5/27/1987
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Background
Faulk was the Tigers 16th round pick out of Kennesaw State University in 2009. The lefty reliever was an All-Atlantic Sun performer during his senior year on campus.

Signed quickly, Faulk made his pro debut in the short-season New York-Penn League working as the primary closer for Oneonta. In 25 relief appearances, Faulk picked up nine saves and a 2-2 record, while notching a 2.83 ERA. Over 28 2/3 innings Faulk allowed only 22 hits and struck out 28, though he did walk 15 batters.

The Tigers made the logical move with Faulk in 2010, sliding him up one rung on the minor league ladder with an assignment to West Michigan. Spending plenty of time as the team's closer yet again, Faulk saved 12 games in his 49 appearances on the season. He finished with a 2.16 ERA through 58 1/3 innings while striking out an impressive 78 hitters and allowing only 52 hits.

Yet again, the 2011 season has seen Faulk slot into the closer's role in Lakeland, and he has been nothing short of spectacular through the first six weeks of the season. Through Thursday's game, Faulk had a 1.83 ERA with 11 saves in 19 games. He has walked only two batters with 30 strikeouts in just 19 2/3 innings.

Scouting Report
Faulk is the relatively rare reliever that relies on a fastball-change combination rather than a fastball-breaking ball duo.

His fastball has been as high as 95 at times in the past, but he sits in the 91-93 range much more often, and he will have stints where he works as low as 88-91 mph. At just 6-foot-0, Faulk's fastball has a tendency to come in on one plane and rarely surprises hitters. There are times when he shows some ability to move the baseball, either cutting or sinking it a bit, but he has not been able to sustain that movement on demand.

At times, Faulk's change-up will earn high enough marks from scouts to be considered one of the best present change-ups in the Tigers minor league system. That said, the pitch lacks projection and won't be better than an average pitch at higher levels. His arm speed and mechanics are consistent with those used for his fastball, which gives him added deception against inexperienced hitters.

Faulk has tried to begin incorporating a slider into his arsenal with greater frequency, but the pitch is a below-average offering that he shows little feel for at this time, and few scouts see it developing into a reliable offering.

Faulk's strike throwing ability has improved over the last two years. He still lacks the ability to locate within the strike zone, and locate his pitches out of the zone to entice hitters to chase.

Many scouts are very down on Faulk from a physical standpoint. Conditioning has and continues to be a concern for scouts and other evaluators. He has not improved his body as a pro and likely never will.

Despite having served as a minor league closer the last two-plus seasons, Faulk isn't considered a prospect.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

AVG

A+

Lakeland

1-1

1.83

19

0

11

30

2

19.2

.240


Health Record
Faulk has been healthy and durable throughout his first three professional summers.

The Future
Pitching almost this entire season at 24-years old, Faulk is already behind the typical age-development curve. The Tigers haven't been aggressive with him at any point in his career.

Given his size, body, and moderate stuff, he has little in the way of an MLB profile. His lack of a breaking ball keeps scouts from projecting him as a situational guy as well.

Faulk should continue to fill late inning roles at the minor league level as long as he wants to keep riding the bus down there, but there doesn't appear to be much projection for an MLB future.

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