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Draft | Story | 6/4/2018

Tigers tale: Mize goes at No. 1

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Casey Mize (Auburn Athletics)

MLB Mock Draft Version 4 | 2018 Draft Preview Content

The Detroit Tigers on Monday selected the Auburn Tigers' right-handed pitcher Casey Mize with the No. 1 overall pick of the first round at the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft, setting the stage for what looked to be an early first round dominated by the selection of top college prospects.

Mize, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior from Springville, Ala., has helped pitch the Tigers (42-21) into this weekend’s NCAA Super Regional against an opponent and at a site yet to be determined.

“Being a professional baseball player has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” Mize told Perfect Game in April. “I’ve always wanted to get that opportunity to play in the big leagues and to know that could possibly be pretty close for me is pretty cool to think about.”

Mize is 10-5 with a 2.95 ERA heading into the Super Regional. He has given up 77 hits in his 109 2/3 innings of work this spring, and most impressively has struck-out 151 batters while walking only 12.

“The separator for Casey is his command,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson told PG in April. “It’s his commitment to command the ball and that’s what gives him the chance to be successful every time he walks out there. … I think it’s just another tool. People will say, ‘Well, this guy throws 97’ and I think command is another tool that someone can possess, and Casey’s got it.

“He learned as a freshman that he’s got to trust his stuff in the zone, and if he doesn’t – if he can’t get out in front or ahead in the count – it’s going to hurt him.”

Mize is the 14th prospect in the last 15 years to be taken 1:1 in the draft who has a history with Perfect Game. It’s a list that dates to Delmon Young in 2003 and includes current MLB stars like Justin Upton (2005), David Price (2007), Bryce Harper (2010) and Carlos Correa (2012), among others.

Mize was rostered at 15 PG WWBA tournaments from 2012-14, all with teams from the Team Georgia Baseball Academy (TGBA) organization; he earned all-tournament recognition at both the 2014 16u PG WWBA National Championship and at the PG WWBA National Qualifier.

In late October of 2014, Mize found himself in Jupiter, Fla., playing with Nelson Baseball/Team GA at the PG WWBA World Championship, the most heavily scouted 18u/17u amateur tournament in the world. His fastball sat 87-91 mph at the prestigious event – he had hit 92 mph earlier that summer – and also showed an 86-mph curveball, 76 mph slider and 81 mph changeup.

Those experiences at PG WWBA events with TGBA were invaluable to Mize, and he points to TGBA president and pitching coordinator Chris McRaney as a person who has impacted his career in a big way.

“(McRaney) providing me and our team with the opportunity to play in Perfect Game events was definitely helpful in getting out there and playing against that great competition and playing in that tournament in Jupiter,” Mize said. “Being down in Florida was really a cool experience, playing against some of the best players in the country, and playing in front of all those scouts was really pretty neat.”

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