The Detroit Tigers have the first pick in this years draft. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are previewing the candidates to go No. 1 overall and help reshape Detroit’s organization.
Death, taxes and the Detroit Tigers drafting a hard throwing right-hander with their first round pick. The Tigers have taken eight right-handed pitchers in the first round since 2007. While many of them have been busts, including Jonathon Crawford, Ryan Perry and Jacob Turner, the Tigers will hope that one of Alex Faedo, Beau Burrows or Matt Manning can become the next Justin Verlander – or at least Rick Porcello.
Looking ahead to the 2018 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers not only have a first round pick but the first pick overall. A glance at the last ten years indicates that the first overall pick, as one would expect, can have a tremendous impact on a franchise’s fortune.
The Detroit Tigers have plenty of ways to approach this pick. They could play it relatively safe by grabbing a college position player, someone who could be quick to the majors and seems almost certain to have a solid, albeit unspectacular, big league career.
Or, they could go risky and grab a high upside high school player and hope for the next Ken Griffey Jr. or Alex Rodriguez. The risk of course is that you could get the next Delmon Young or Tim Beckham.
While there is no surefire No. 1 overall option in this draft, there are certainly a few players that stand out. One player who has come up quite a bit as the potential first pick is Auburn University right-hander Casey Mize.
Mize was relatively unheralded out of high school in Alabama, choosing to stay local and attend Auburn. A strong freshman year led to a lights out sophomore year, where he had a 2.04 ERA with an 11.7 K/9. He put on some weight and his fastball now touches 96 miles per hour, with a 89ish mile per hour split-finger that cuts into left-handed hitters. He has also refined his low-80’s slider as well, giving him three potential plus pitches.
Perhaps his greatest trait is his incredible control. In 167 2/3 innings the last two seasons, the 6-foot-3 right-hander has struck out 228 batters and walked only 16, an incredible ratio of 14.25 to 1. While that will surely change as he’s forced to attack hitters on the corners as opposed to over the plate, which he can get away with even in the SEC thanks to his velocity, it’s still an incredible feat.
Mize on the Tigers
Obviously, Detroit is flush with pitching, particularly from the right side. Faedo, Manning and Burrows are joined by Franklin Perez and Kyle Funkhouser in a pitching-heavy farm. However, the phrase ‘TINSTAAPP’ or ‘there is no such thing as a pitching prospect’ exists for a reason. For a variety of reasons, (injuries, inability to adjust, etc.) pitching prospects tend to bust at a much higher rate than position players. As such, it is reasonable to assume that one or more of Detroit’s stud arms won’t pan out.
Mize would be an incredible insurance plan for the Detroit Tigers. Between Mize and the arms already in the system, not to mention Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris (if he stays in the rotation) the Tigers should be able to put together a very, very solid big league rotation in a few years. One or more of these guys could end up transitioning to the bullpen as well, giving Detroit a solid pitching staff from inning 1-9.
The Detroit Tigers will add a potentially franchise-altering player in the draft this year. Whether they go with Mize or one of the many other high profile prospects that are available, Detroit has a great opportunity to help grow their ever improving farm system as they aim to contend in 3-5 years.