No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize agreed Monday to a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers that includes a $7.5 million signing bonus, the highest for any drafted player since 2011.
Detroit didn’t go into much detail about its 2018 plan for Mize, but it certainly sounds as if he’ll pitch in the organization at some point soon.
“We pretty much know what we’re going to do,” said Scott Pleis, the team’s director of amateur scouting. “We’re going to figure that out – how many innings, how that’s going to work out, when he’s going to do it. So all the stuff will be mapped out.”
Alex Faedo, a right-hander drafted by the Tigers in the first round last year, did not start his minor league career until this season. He’s at Double-A Erie now.
In 17 starts at Auburn this year, Mize went 10-6 with a 3.30 ERA. The 6-foot-3 junior averaged 12.24 strikeouts per nine innings. The Tigers took him with the No. 1 draft pick earlier this month. His bonus in the highest for a player since Aug. 15, 2011, when pitcher Gerrit Cole agreed to an $8 million bonus with Pittsburgh and outfielder Bubba Starling struck a $7.5 million deal with Kansas City.
Mize’s bonus is below his $8,096,300 slot value. In three seasons at Auburn, Mize went 20-13 with a 2.96 ERA, 324 strikeouts and 43 walks.
The Tigers also agreed with Texas second baseman Kody Clemens, the youngest son of seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, on a deal with a $600,000 signing bonus. Detroit took him in the third round.
Shortly after Detroit announced the deal with Mize, the Tigers held a news conference with him at Comerica Park. He also had a chance to go on the field and interact with players.
“A little nervous to even go play catch,” Mize said. “I felt a part of it a little bit, which was an awesome feeling. Even stepping in the dugout, and kind of just seeing the stadium. I don’t know – it was really cool.”
Mize was asked about any players he may have tried to emulate growing up. His answer never played for the Tigers – but it’s someone who did go to high school in Michigan.
“There is a guy that I grew up idolizing, but he’s not a pitcher,” Mize said. “I loved Derek Jeter growing up, because I played shortstop as well.”
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