DETROIT (WJBK/AP) - The Detroit Tigers selected pitcher Casey Mize out of the University of Auburn with the number one overall pick in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Mize, 21, 6-3, 220 pounds, went undrafted out of high school three years ago, developing into a potential big league ace while in college. Mize has the mound combination that makes scouts drool - and batters consistently miss. He's got solid command of four pitches, including a fastball that hovers in the mid-90s. But it's his outstanding command and wicked splitter/changeup - possibly the best in the draft - that push him to the top of most teams' wish lists. He was 10-5 with a 2.95 ERA, 151 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 109 2/3 innings while helping the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament. The college junior had 319 strikeouts and only 39 walks throughout his collegiate career.
“The Detroit Tigers are proud to select this young man with the first overall pick,” said Scott Pleis, Tigers Director of Amateur Scouting, in press release. “Tonight is a culmination of many years’ worth of hard work and dedication to the craft of pitching. Casey is truly a special player with a phenomenal arm and impressive collegiate baseball pedigree, but perhaps most importantly has a top-level make-up.
“We project that his arsenal will play up at the Major League level – including what we feel are four true ‘plus’ pitches. Casey has tremendous upside, and his tools have the potential to take his career to special places. Pitchers with his control and command are extremely rare, and we’re all excited to see him get to work and begin his career as a Tiger.”
The Springfield, Alabama native has dazzled scouts for months with his impressive arsenal of pitches.
“All of us in the Tigers organization are thrilled to select Casey with this pick, and are confident that he will become a pillar in our player development system that’s going to bring winning baseball to Detroit for seasons to come,” said Al Avila, Tigers Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations and General Manager, in press release. “Being a college pitcher – especially coming from the Southeastern Conference – we know Casey has seen elite competition before.
“I’d like also like to commend our scouting staff for the extraordinarily thorough job they’ve done canvassing the country over the last year in preparation for this pick and the others that follow.”
For the Tigers, it was the first time they had the No. 1 pick since they took Rice pitcher Matt Anderson in 1997.
"I don't know if there's a can't-miss," Tigers general manager Al Avila said last week to reporters. "From draft to draft, you try to say, 'Who's that can't-miss?' There's been plenty of can't-misses that have missed, as you all know, in the history of the draft, but there are good players in this draft.
"And there's going to be players in this draft who are going to get to the big leagues, and there will be players in this draft who may end up being All-Stars or maybe even franchise players. And they come from all places in the draft."
Follow @FOX2Sports on Twitter as this story continues to develop.