The Tigers announced today that they’ve signed No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize. He’ll be introduced today at a press conference. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter) that the former Auburn ace received a $7.5MM signing bonus. That’s a new record bonus for the current draft structure, though it still checks in south of the full slot value of $8,096,300. Mize was advised by and is now represented by the Bledsoe Agency.
Mize, 21, was the consensus top talent in the 2018 draft class. He topped pre-draft rankings from Baseball America, MLB.com, Fangraphs and ESPN, and virtually every mock draft leading up to the draft itself had projected that the Tigers would select him. He’ll instantly become one of the game’s top pitching prospects (and top overall prospects) and will give the Tigers a potential fast-moving, high-end pitching talent to add to their minor league ranks.
In his junior season at Auburn, Mize pitched to a 3.30 ERA with a ridiculous 156-to-16 K/BB ratio in 114 2/3 innings of work. He works with a fastball that reaches 97 mph but sits more in the 93-95 mph range and draws exceptional reviews for his ability to command that pitch as well as a splitter that both MLB.com and Baseball America rate as a 70-grade pitch (on the 20-80 scale). Mize also began throwing a cut fastball this year — another pitch that has quickly earned plus ratings — and throws a slider as well.
The rebuilding Tigers have begun to amass an impressive collection of arms that could be in the Majors by 2019 and certainly by early 2020. Detroit has selected a pitcher with its top pick in each of the past four drafts, and those arms — Alex Faedo (2017), Matt Manning (2016) and Beau Burrows (2015) — are widely ranked as the organization’s Nos. 2-4 prospects. Their top prospect, prior to signing Mize, is right-hander Franklin Perez — another highly touted arm whom the Tigers acquired from the Astros as the centerpiece to last summer’s Justin Verlander blockbuster. With Mize now joining that quartet, and Michael Fulmer and Matthew Boyd controlled for four years beyond the current season, the Tigers have the makings of an impressive up-and-coming pitching staff on which their fans and front office can dream.