The Detroit Tigers may have just found the star of their rebuild. With the top overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Detroit selected pitcher Casey Mize to help bring the Tigers back to prominence.
Who is Casey Mize?
Casey Mize is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher from Auburn University. In 2018, he posted a 2.95 ERA over 109 2/3 innings. Mize struck out 151 batters and only issued 12 walks.
Mize can touch 97 mph with his fastball, but also features a dominant splitter which some have called the best pitch in the draft.
How does he fit in with the Tigers?
Mize probably becomes one of the team’s best prospects. The Tigers’ farm system isn’t all that strong at the moment. The team spent the past decade or so contending for the American League Central. They traded away many of their prospects and lost pick due to signing free agents just to remain competitive. It wasn’t until recently that they decided to commit to a rebuild, so there’s not a lot in the system just yet. Mize gives them a good building block for the team’s next core.
Who else were candidates to go No. 1 overall?
Just hours before the draft, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reported that the Tigers were considering three players for the No. 1 overall pick. They went with Mize, but also considered Florida pitcher Brady Singer and Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart.
Bart may not have gone No. 1 overall, but he didn’t wait long to hear his name. The San Francisco Giants took him No. 2 overall.
Singer had to wait longer than expected. He went to the Kansas City Royals with the No. 18 pick.
What is the Tigers’ history with the top overall pick?
The last player Detroit selected No. 1 overall was pitcher Matt Anderson back in 1997. Anderson spent seven seasons in the majors, but failed to live up to his draft status. He posted a 5.19 ERA over 256 2/3 career innings.
Anderson’s performance has nothing to do with Mize. They were drafted over 20 years apart and the people involved in selected both players are completely different. It’s just a fun piece of trivia you can use to impress your friends.
How did the Tigers get the top pick in the draft?
If you look at last year’s standing, you might notice both the Tigers and the Giants finished the season with 64 wins. Why did the Tigers edge them out for the top pick?
It’s all due to Pablo Sandoval. He hit a walk-off home run to give the Giants a win during their final game of the regular season in 2017. That tied them with the Tigers for the worst record in the league. In the event of a tie, the team with the worse record in the previous season picks first. If you look back at 2016 records, the Tigers were just barely worse. They won 86 games that season. The Giants won 87.
The rest of the top-10
- Detroit Tigers – Casey Mize, pitcher, Auburn
- San Francisco Giants – Joey Bart, catcher, Georgia Tech
- Philadelphia Phillies – Alec Bohm, third baseman, Wichita State
- Chicago White Sox – Nick Madrigal, shortstop, Oregon State
- Cincinnati Reds – Jonathan India, third baseman, Florida
- New York Mets – Jarred Kelenic, outfielder, Waukesha West High School
- San Diego Padres – Ryan Weathers – pitcher, Loretto High School
- Atlanta Braves – Carter Stewart – pitcher, Eau Gallie High School
- Oakland Athletics – Kyler Murray – outfielder, Oklahoma
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Travis Swaggerty, outfielder, South Alabama
Storylines of the top-10
• The first Florida player to be drafted was not Singer, as many believed. It was third baseman Jonathan India, who went to the Reds with the fifth pick.
• The first high school player went with the next pick, as the Mets grabbed outfielder Jarred Kelenic from Waukesha West High School.
• That seemed to start a run, as the next two players selected were also high schoolers.
• One of those players was Ryan Weathers, who went to the Padres with the eighth pick. Weathers is the son of former MLB reliever David Weathers, who posted a 4.25 ERA over 19 years in the majors.
• The most intriguing player selected in the top-10 might be Kyler Murray. The A’s took a shot on Murray even though he might be the starting quarterback at the University of Oklahoma. Early reports claim Murray will play football in the fall and then transition to baseball, but that might not sit well with the A’s.
• Singer was not selected in the top-10. His slide was one of the biggest stories from the first night of the draft. The Royals eventually grabbed Singer with the No. 18 pick.
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