MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo has announced that the Detroit Tigers, owners of the first overall pick in Monday’s 2018 MLB Draft, have narrowed their focus to three prospects.
The Detroit Tigers are ahead of schedule on their rebuild (28-31, 3 GB in American League Central), and are targeting college players that will likely be fast movers through the system. According to Mayo, the three prospects are Auburn ace Casey Mize (MLB.com’s #1 draft prospect), Florida ace Brady Singer (#2 draft prospect) and Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart (#6 draft prospect). As the case with any selection, the three bring their own strengths and weaknesses.
Right-Handed Pitcher Casey Mize, Auburn
Key Stats: 10-5, 2.95 ERA, 151 strikeouts/12 walks in 109.1 innings
Strengths: There is no questioning Mize’s potential to anchor a big-league rotation. All three of his pitches grade out as above-average, with his splitter being graded as a legit plus-plus pitch. Mize can run his fastball up into the upper 90s mph with late life, and his control also grades as above average, making him almost unhittable this season (.195 opponent’s batting average).
Weaknesses: The one thing that would scare scouts away would be Mize’s injury history. Undrafted out of high school due to an ankle injury, and then shut down towards the end of last spring and in the summer due to a tired arm and a forearm strain, Mize put any concerns to sleep this spring.
Right-Handed Pitcher Brady Singer, Florida
Key Stats: 11-1, 2.27 ERA, 98 strikeouts/18 walks in 95 innings, one complete game shutout
Strengths: Singer was drafted early out of high school (second round, 56th overall), but opted to attend Florida rather than sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, which has proven to be a great career choice. This season, Singer’s command has improved greatly, grading at just above-average to compliment his three above-average pitches. Singer’s fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s all season, with a deceptive 3/4 arm slot giving his ball late sink.Between Casey Mize, Brady Singer, and Joey Bart, the Tigers are getting a player with his fair share of strengths and weaknesses. @bsmythe5 looks at the options.Click To Tweet
Weaknesses: Singer struggled out of the bullpen as a freshman (4.95 ERA), and did not show the above-average command that he has this year (49 walks, 20 HBP in first two seasons), although it seems to be remedied this season. Despite his electric stuff, Singer has never been a huge strikeout pitcher (9.03 K/9 in career).
Catcher Joey Bart, Georgia Tech
Key Stats: .359/.471/.632, 12 doubles, 16 home runs, 38 RBI, 12 of 33 runners caught stealing
Strengths: Bart’s power impressed last season (13 home runs in 2017), but had not broken the .300 threshold until this season, and now has been given an average grade hit tool, with above-average power. What scouts love most about Bart is his strong arm (38% of runners caught stealing in career), and ability to stick behind the plate. For most clubs, offense is secondary at the catching position, but Bart has the potential to be a force both at the plate and behind the plate.
Weaknesses: Scouts were wary about Bart’s ability to stick at catcher before he arrived at Georgia Tech, but those concerns have been muted. As expected from a catcher, Bart’s speed grades at well below-average, and his athleticism is a tick below-average.