Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Mize embraces expectations as No. 1 pick

Tigers prospect eager to learn professional ropes in Minors
MLB.com

DETROIT -- Right-hander Casey Mize, the top overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Tigers, sat down with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and closer Shane Greene during their 619 podcast to talk about what it was like being a Division I student-athlete at Auburn, adjusting to life in the Minor Leagues and how he'll handle the expectations that come with being the first overall pick.

Mize joined Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg as players to go from undrafted out of high school to becoming the top pick out of college. Mize pitched three seasons at Auburn. In his final season, Mize threw three complete games, including a no-hitter, with 156 strikeouts and only 16 walks. He was a key reason the Auburn Tigers were still playing in the postseason, which meant Mize's season was not over when Detroit selected him. Mize was at Comerica Park on Monday to officially announce his signing.

View Full Game Coverage

DETROIT -- Right-hander Casey Mize, the top overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Tigers, sat down with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and closer Shane Greene during their 619 podcast to talk about what it was like being a Division I student-athlete at Auburn, adjusting to life in the Minor Leagues and how he'll handle the expectations that come with being the first overall pick.

Mize joined Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg as players to go from undrafted out of high school to becoming the top pick out of college. Mize pitched three seasons at Auburn. In his final season, Mize threw three complete games, including a no-hitter, with 156 strikeouts and only 16 walks. He was a key reason the Auburn Tigers were still playing in the postseason, which meant Mize's season was not over when Detroit selected him. Mize was at Comerica Park on Monday to officially announce his signing.

View Full Game Coverage

Mize said he didn't know in advance that the Detroit Tigers were taking him No. 1.

"I think that made it even more special," Mize said. "Me, my family and my teammates all got to hear it at the same time, and I think that was really special."

Mize spent most of that day traveling back to Auburn after playing in South Carolina, and even when he got there, there wasn't much time to soak in the excitement of the Draft.

Video: OAK@DET: Mize talking about going No. 1, college days

"The next day you wake up and you kind of have to flush it because we were getting ready for the next weekend," Mize said. "We were going to Gainesville, Fla., to play the Gators. It was really cool. It was a cool process, but you had to enjoy it and not let it be too caught up in your mind."

The three years he spent playing at Auburn is when Mize said he learned how to fail, which ultimately made him good enough to be taken first overall. It was different from high school, where he was clearly the most talented player in almost every contest.

"Not being the best player on the field anymore, it beat me down a little bit," Mize said. "But I think I did a really good job of harnessing it because I wanted to learn from it, and I didn't want to be that guy anymore."

After Greene and Castellanos shared stories about their struggles early adjusting to life in the Minor Leagues, Mize admitted it's going to be a dramatic transition for him to go from major college baseball in the SEC to the lower levels of professional baseball.

"I have a lot of anxiety about that kind of stuff," Mize said. "I'm probably going to set a bunch of alarms and try not to miss anything."

Most players who get drafted and sign are going to be dealing with lofty expectations, set by a combination of themselves and everyone around them. This is especially true with the first overall pick. Castellanos said he found it useful to ignore those expectations and stay focused in the moment, but Mize said he has embraced the expectations that are being set for him.

"I think those expectations are a good thing, honestly," Mize said. "I'm trying not to look at that as a negative. I think that's a good thing that I even put myself in that position for that to even happen. Obviously, I'm going to try to put myself in position to meet those expectations and exceed them. That's the goal."

The 619 podcast is an unfiltered conversation between Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and reliever Shane Greene. Look out for new episodes featuring special guests and honest talk about life as a Major Leaguer. Download, subscribe and help others find the show by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite platform.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Detroit Tigers