Tigers sign top pick Mize, 3rd rounder Clemens

By Blake Froling

The Tigers have agreed to terms with two of their top draft picks, according to multiple reports.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press says Mize, the No. 1 overall pick from Auburn University, received a signing bonus of $7.5 million dollars, which is the second-highest in MLB Draft history behind Gerrit Cole’s $8 million, according to Jim Callis from MLB.com.

Mize finished his junior season at Auburn with a 3.30 ERA over 114.2 innings pitched, 156 strikeouts and only 16 walks.

Photo: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers also reportedly agreed to terms with second baseman Kody Clemens, the team’s third round pick from the University of Texas. He is the son of former big leaguer Roger Clemens.

Clemens hit .351 with 24 home runs and 72 RBI in 65 games this season. Hit hit just 10 home runs combined in his first two seasons in Austin.

Tigers draft son of Roger Clemens with 79th pick


The Detroit Tigers selected University of Texas second baseman Kody Clemens on Tuesday with the first pick of the third round (79th overall) in the MLB amateur draft.

He is a son of former major league pitcher Roger Clemens.

John Rivera/Icon Sportswire

Kody Clemens has hit .346 with 21 home runs and 68 RBIs for the Longhorns this season, his junior year. He was limited to being the designated hitter for most of his sophomore season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2016.

The Longhorns are currently in the NCAA baseball tournament. They will play Tennessee Tech in the Austin Super Regional, starting Saturday.

Roger Clemens won an American League MVP award, seven Cy Young Awards and 354 games during his 24-season career.

The Tigers opened the MLB draft on Monday by selecting Auburn right-hander Casey Mize with the No. 1 overall pick.


Tigers draft Auburn right-hander Casey Mize with No. 1 pick

Associated Press

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Casey Mize went from undrafted three years ago all the way to No. 1.

The Detroit Tigers selected the Auburn right-hander with the first pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Monday. The announcement at MLB Network studios marked the second time the Tigers led off the draft and the first since they took Rice pitcher Matt Anderson in 1997.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Mize had long been linked to the Tigers, and this season he pitched his way to the top spot on the board. Mize wasn’t chosen by any organization out of high school three years ago, but he developed into a potential big league ace while in college.

“It means a ton,” he said in an interview on MLB Network’s broadcast. “I can’t describe this feeling right now.”

Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire

Mize is 10-5 with a 2.95 ERA, 151 strikeouts and 12 walks in 109 2/3 innings while helping the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament super regionals. He has outstanding command of four pitches, including a fastball that hovers in the mid-90s (mph), and his wicked split changeup creates lots of swing-and-misses.

Mize became the seventh player to go from undrafted in high school to the No. 1 pick and the first since Stephen Strasburg went to the Washington Nationals in 2009.

In a statement, Tigers general manager Al Avila said the club is confident that Mize “will become a pillar in our player development system that’s going to bring winning baseball to Detroit for seasons to come.”

“Being a college pitcher — especially coming from the Southeastern Conference — we know Casey has seen elite competition before,” he added.

With the second selection, San Francisco took slugging Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.

Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm was the first of six players in attendance to be drafted, going third overall to Philadelphia.

Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal — at 5-foot-7, 160 pounds — went fourth to the Chicago White Sox.

Rounding out the top five picks was Cincinnati, which took Florida third baseman Jonathan India.

Oakland created a major buzz at No. 9 and shook up some draft boards by tabbing speedy Oklahoma outfielder — and quarterback — Kyler Murray, the favorite to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield this season as the Sooners’ starter on the gridiron.

Shortly after he was picked by Oakland, Murray said he still plans to play football for Oklahoma this year.

“Right now, I’m really not focused on the football-baseball situation,” Murray said on a conference call. “I’m just soaking in the night.”

When asked again about the coming football season, Murray said he had spoken to the Athletics about it.

“I will be playing football this season,” he insisted.

North Carolina high school outfielder Jordyn Adams might have to make the same big decision. He was taken 17th overall by the Angels but has committed to playing both baseball and football for the University of North Carolina.

Perhaps the replacement for Giants star Buster Posey someday, Bart follows in the footsteps of Matt Wieters and Jason Varitek: big league backstops who came out of Georgia Tech.

Bart led the ACC with a .359 batting average and topped the Yellow Jackets with a .632 slugging percentage, 79 hits, 16 home runs, 55 runs and a .471 on-base percentage. He’s also one of the country’s best defensive catchers.

Bohm was one of the top hitters in the draft, batting .339 with 55 RBIs and 16 homers — the most by a Wichita State player since 2004. He set a school record with three grand slams this year.

Bohm had some trouble buttoning his white Phillies jersey before he headed to the podium to shake hands with Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“The holes are pretty tight. It was pretty tough,” said the 6-foot-5 Bohm, later adding that his biggest strength is probably his maturity at the plate. “I’m just ready to go play ball.”

Despite his short stature, Madrigal was considered by many to be the best overall hitter in the class. He rebounded nicely for the Beavers after missing half the season with a broken left wrist.

India, the Southeastern Conference player of the year for Florida, has been an offensive force for the defending College World Series champions. He’s the 12th player in school history to post 20 or more homers, 100 or more RBIs and 30 or more stolen bases in his career.

The Mets took the first high school player, selecting Wisconsin prep outfielder Jarred Kelenic sixth overall. The left-handed-hitting Kelenic was the MVP of the Team USA Under-18 squad last September at the Pan American Games in Canada while batting .404 and leading the team in extra-base hits.

Tennessee high school lefty Ryan Weathers, son of former major league pitcher David Weathers, was the No. 7 pick by San Diego.

Florida high school righty Carter Stewart was the second player in attendance to be selected, going eighth overall to Atlanta. It made for a heartwarming moment, as 16-year-old Luke Terry, a one-armed high school catcher from Tennessee and a lifelong Braves fan, announced Stewart’s name at the podium.

South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty went to Pittsburgh with the 10th pick. He hit .296 with 13 homers, 38 RBIs and a whopping 54 walks for the Jaguars this season.

The draft resumes with rounds 3-10 on Tuesday and concludes with rounds 11-40 on Wednesday.


The second round included some players with famous bloodlines: Georgia prep outfielder Parker Meadows, brother of Pirates rookie Austin Meadows, went 44th to Detroit; Duke outfielder Griffin Conine, son of Jeff Conine, went 52nd to Toronto; and California high school shortstop Osiris Johnson, cousin of Jimmy Rollins and Tony Tarasco, was taken by Miami with the next pick.


Florida right-hander Brady Singer, considered a potential top-three selection, fell all the way to Kansas City at No. 18. … Prep catcher Anthony Seigler from Georgia, an ambidextrous pitcher in high school, went 23rd to the Yankees. … The Dodgers wrapped up the opening round by taking Mississippi high school right-hander J.T. Ginn at No. 30. … Florida prep shortstop Xavier Edwards was the last of the players in attendance to be selected, going 38th overall to San Diego.


Ready to go jersey shopping? Your guide to the 2018 MLB draft

By David Schoenfield, ESPN Senior Writer

We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to remind you the MLB draft kicks off Monday. Be sure to check out Keith Law’s Big Board of the top 100 prospects and his mock draft heading into the first round. In the meantime, he’s our general preview of a few things to watch (all stats through Saturday):

Who do the Tigers take with the first pick?

The Tigers are drafting first for the second time in franchise history and hope this pick turns out better than Matt Anderson, the first pick in 1997 who finished with a 5.19 ERA over 257 relief appearances. While there’s no clear-cut No. 1 talent in this draft, the consensus prediction is Casey Mize, a right-hander from Auburn with a great baseball name.


Mize is more finished product than projection and should advance quickly into a big league rotation, perhaps as early as 2019. He’s 10-5 with a 2.95 ERA and a sterling 151-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Proving how difficult the baseball draft can be, there is no guarantee even with the first pick. Three of the past four first overall picks have struggled:

• The Astros took Mark Appel in 2013 ahead of Kris Bryant. Appel never reached the majors and retired this spring.

• The Astros took high school lefty Brady Aiken in 2014, but couldn’t reach a bonus agreement after issues showed up in his medicals. Aiken blew out his elbow in 2015, but the Indians still re-drafted him in the first round. He has yet to pitch in 2018. (At least the Astros received a compensation pick for not signing Aiken and took Alex Bregman in 2015.)

• The Phillies took outfielder Mickey Moniak in 2016 and he already looks like a potential bust, hitting .242 at Class A with no home runs and a 46-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Late update: Law’s Mock Draft 4.0 takes a new twist and has the Tigers going with Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart, with Mize falling to the Phillies at No. 3. The last catcher to go first overall was Joe Mauer in 2001. The other three catchers taken first overall were Danny Goodwin (actually taken twice), Mike Ivie (who had to move to first base in the majors after developing the yips), and Steve Chilcott, who never reached the majors.

Is Nick Madrigal the next Jose Altuve or Dustin Pedroia?

The Oregon State shortstop might move to second base in the pros, but that’s not what draws the Altuve and Pedroia comparisons. It’s the combination of hitting prowess and size: He’s listed at 5-foot-8, and that might be generous. The only middle infielder that short taken in the first round was Joey Cora, drafted 23rd overall by the Padres in 1995.

Nobody questions Madrigal’s bat-to-ball skills, although the power will be a question in the pros. He missed some time with a hand injury this year, but in 31 games he’s hitting .406 and has struck out just five times in 146 plate appearances. Law has Madrigal going fifth overall to the Reds in his Mock Draft 4.0 and he could go as high as third to the Phillies and even first to the Tigers. Like Mize, he should advance quickly and has a high floor. You never want to project somebody to reach the level of Altuve or Pedroia, but the recent success of short players has at least allowed scouts to view Madrigal as one of the best talents in the draft.

Will the Florida Gators have three first-round picks?

The 2017 College World Series champions have three potential first-round picks:

• RHP Brady Singer entered the season as a potential No. 1 overall pick, struggled a bit early on, came on strong again, missed a couple of weeks with hamstring issues, then returned in regional play. He’s 11-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 95 innings. Singer was a second-round pick out of high school by the Blue Jays, but scouts remain a little divisive on him thanks to a funky delivery. Some think he ends up as a reliever. Law has Singer going fourth to the White Sox, pointing out they have a history of drafting pitchers with unusual deliveries (such as Chris Sale).

• 3B Jonathan India could go in the top 10. He’s hitting .364 with 18 home runs and a .504 OBP in 59 games as one of top college hitters this season. The one potential concern: His 48 strikeouts are high for an elite college bat (but at least he has drawn 49 walks).

• RHP Jackson Kowar is 6-foot-6 and sits at 95 mph. He has a 3.21 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 92⅔ innings, but a walk rate almost twice that of Singer’s. He could go middle-to-late first round.

What is the strength of the draft?

Looks like high school pitching. Law has eight high school pitchers going in his top 30 picks. One of the most intriguing is Carter Stewart, a right-hander from Melbourne, Florida, who hits 98 mph with his fastball and has elite spin rate on his curveball.

Who are a couple of boom-or-bust types?

Maybe South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty. His tools are as good as anybody’s in the draft, with plus speed and a plus arm (he threw 92 as a pitcher in high school) and some power at the plate. He has hit just .296 in a mediocre conference, however, and though he has drawn 54 walks he has struck out 38 times in 57 games. He’s also on the short side — maybe 5-foot-8, not his listed 5-10. If everything comes together, he could be an elite leadoff hitter in the Brett Gardner mode, with more power.

If not Swaggerty, maybe high school outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who could be the first player from Wisconsin drafted in the top 10. Despite coming from a cold-weather state, he has a strong track record for scouts after playing for the U.S. 18-and-under national team, and they like the power/speed combo. He’s old for his class, however, turning 19 in July, and people who have studied draft history know that’s a red flag.

Arizona prepster Nolan Gorman is another one. He has as much raw power as anybody in the draft, which could land him in the top 10, but there are concerns about the overall hit tool and the likelihood of remaining at third base.

Who is the biggest wild card?

How about Oklahoma outfielder Kyler Murray? One of the best athletes in the 2015 draft, Murray instead enrolled at Texas A&M to play football and baseball. He later transferred to Oklahoma and is the favorite to replace Heisman winner Baker Mayfield at quarterback in the fall. He hadn’t played much baseball recently, but then hit .296/.398/.556 this year with 10 home runs — and 56 strikeouts in 51 games. The tools are juicy enough to get somebody to take him and hope he’ll focus on baseball. Law has him ranked No. 35 on his Big Board.

Who are the teams to watch?

The Rays and Royals both have five picks on the first day of the draft, which includes the first round through the second round of compensation picks (the first 78 picks in the draft). The Rays don’t pick until 16th in the first round and the Royals 18th, but both have more bonus pool money to spend than the Tigers. The Cubs and Indians also have four picks each, with Cleveland picking 29th, 35th and 41st.

Will anybody draft Luke Heimlich?

The Oregon State senior lefty has some of the best stats in college baseball: 14-1, 2.49 ERA, 139 K’s in 104⅔ innings and just three home runs allowed after posting a 0.76 ERA as a junior with no home runs in 118 innings. Just before last year’s draft, however, it was reported that when he was 15 years old, Heimlich had pleaded guilty to molesting his 6-year-old niece. Heimlich removed himself from the team’s College World Series roster and went undrafted.

Heimlich’s initial plea deal in 2012, written in his own hand, reads “I admit that I had sexual conduct with my niece.” Now, however, Heimlich says he accepted the deal only to avoid a trial and possible jail time, and had consistently denied any wrongdoing. “Nothing ever happened, so there is no incident to look back on,” he told The New York Times in May. “There is no way he didn’t do it,” the niece’s mother said.

He throws in the 90s with a curveball and changeup and good command. He’s a second-round type of talent. Several teams — most? — have removed him from their draft boards, according to reports. Will somebody take a chance?

Any familiar names?

As always, there are plenty of them. A few to look for in the early rounds:

• Murray is the son of former Texas A&M quarterback and Brewers minor leaguer Kevin Murray and nephew of former big leaguer Calvin Murray.

• LHP Ryan Weathers is the son of former big league reliever David Weathers. The high schooler from Tennessee is a potential top-10 pick.

• SS Brice Turang is the son of Brian Turang, who played two seasons with the Mariners. Law has him going No. 26 to Boston.

• C/IF Noah Naylor is the brother of Padres prospect Josh Naylor, the 12th overall pick in 2015, who is having a breakout season in Double-A. Noah could be just the eighth Canadian taken in the first round.

• RHP Kumar Rocker is a potential first-round pick. He’s 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds — the son of former NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker (who won the Lombardi and Outland trophies at Auburn).

• OF Griffin Conine, son of Jeff, entered the season as a potential top-10 pick, but the Duke product has hit just .265, albeit with a 15 home runs. He now projects as a second-round selection.

• OF Tristan Pompey is the younger brother of Blue Jays outfielder Dalton. The Canadian plays for the University of Kentucky and could go in the second or third round.

• OF Alek Thomas is the son of the White Sox strength and conditioning coordinator Allen Thomas. He has committed to play baseball and football at TCU, so could be a tough sign unless he gets drafted high enough.

Which player is potentially most destined for big replica jersey sales?

Clemson first baseman Seth Beer. Or rather, make that Clemson DH, as some feel he’s so limited in the field that he projects as an AL-only player. Beer was the college player of the year as a freshman when he hit .362/.535/.700 with 18 home runs, but he hasn’t matched those numbers as a sophomore or junior, hitting .316 with 20 home runs this year. He could slip into the back of the first round.