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TRACK RECORD: The Tigers had not picked first overall since 1997, when they selected Rice closer Matt Anderson. They hope that picking a college righthander works out better this time. Mize signed for $7.5 million, which set a bonus record for any player since the current draft format was adopted in 2012. Mize came into his junior season at Auburn facing questions about his durability. He had missed time as a sophomore with a flexor strain and did not pitch that summer. But he had no problems fronting Auburn’s rotation in 2018 and reinforced the conviction that he was the clear top player in the 2018 draft class. Using his signature splitter, Mize held hitters to a .217 average in college. After tossing a career-high 114.2 innings in his junior season, Mize made just five starts between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and high Class A Florida State League before shutting things down for the year.
SCOUTING REPORT: Mize features a 91-95 mph fastball that touches 97. It’s a plus-plus pitch that plays up because of how well he locates it. His fastball sets up his other offerings, all of which are plus across the board. Mize’s 80-86 mph slider is almost two pitches in one. He can make it bigger and slower when he’s looking for an early-count strike, but he can also throw it harder and tighter as a later-count power pitch. His best weapon is his plus-plus mid-80s splitter. While many pitchers struggle to command and control their splitter, he commands his nearly as well as his fastball. Additionally, Mize has started to throw a cutter that flashes above-average. Everything he throws is hard, and he uses his splitter in lieu of a changeup. As good as his stuff is, Mize’s plus control is equally noteworthy. He ranked among the top 20 in walk rate in Division I as both a sophomore and junior and led D-I in strikeout-towalk rate in 2017. The intangibles will also play a role for the righty, and Tigers coaches love his approach to the game and ability to compete.
THE FUTURE: As he works to repeat his delivery with more consistency, Mize should fly through the minors. The 2019 season will be his first full campaign in the minors, and he should have no trouble reaching Double-A Erie by the end of it. Mize’s ability to command his offerings and throw a plus-plus splitter and two additional plus pitches put him in an excellent position to be a potential front-of-the-rotation starter.
TRACK RECORD: Manning was lauded out of high school in part because of his stuff, but also for the athletic bloodlines. His father, Rich, played two seasons in the NBA, and Matt was a Division I basketball prospect. Manning’s 2018 season was delayed two weeks by an oblique injury, but once he got going he masted two Class A levels and climbed to Double-A at age 20.
SCOUTING REPORT: Manning’s 6-foot-6 frame gives him excellent extension, which allows his plus 91-95 mph fastball to appear even firmer. His best secondary offering is his low-80s downer curveball, which is a future plus pitch. Manning shows a feel for a changeup that should develop into an average pitch, though it currently lags behind his other secondary offerings. Despite having stabbing action in his arm swing, Manning’s athleticism gives him the body control to develop average control, but at times he has struggled to maintain a consistent release point because he drops his arm.
THE FUTURE: Tigers personnel applaud Manning’s competitiveness. He has to continue to refine the consistency of his delivery while polishing his changeup. His combination of stuff and athleticism gives him the upside of a mid-rotation starter if his control improves.
TRACK RECORD: After signing with the Cubs in 2015, Paredes was traded to the Tigers in the July 2017 deal that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to Chicago. He stood out in 2017 as an 18-yearold shortstop who swatted 11 home runs with a low strikeout rate. He added 15 more homers in 2018 as he reached Double-A as a 19-year-old.
SCOUTING REPORT: Paredes’ innate knack for putting the barrel on the ball gives him the potential to be a plus hitter. He has a contact-oriented approach with average power. It’s a pull-heavy approach and all his power is to his pull side. Equipped with an above-average arm, Paredes is viewed as an average defender at second base or third base who can move around the diamond. Scouts do not believe he has the range to stick at shortstop. Though he is a below-average runner and already has a stocky frame, his hands and reliability should allow him to stay in the infield.
THE FUTURE: Paredes profiles as a first-division regular at second base thanks to his offensive potential. His defensive versatility only adds to his value. He should split 2019 between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo with a chance to make it to the majors in 2020.
TRACK RECORD: Perez ranked as the No. 14 player in the 2014 international class and signed with the Astros for $1 million. He was dealt in 2017 as part of the package that brought ace righthander Justin Verlander to Houston. A knee injury slowed Perez in 2017, but he had more serious injury issues in 2018. He made just seven starts because he missed time with a lat strain and was shut down late in the year with a sore right shoulder.
SCOUTING REPORT: Though his season was derailed by injuries, Perez’s feel, control and stuff are promising if he stays healthy. He throws all four pitches, with a plus fastball that gets into the mid-90s. He is working with an above-average curveball and a developing slider that could be average or better as well. In addition, Perez has a feel for a plus changeup. He sells the pitch well, and throws it with roughly 10 mph of separation from his fastball. When Perez executes his changeup it shows run and sink away from lefthanded hitters.
THE FUTURE: Perez will need a strong showing in 2019 to prove his health, but if he can get back on track, his stuff is enough project him as future mid-rotation starter thanks to his plus control.
TRACK RECORD: The son of former all-star outfielder Mike Cameron, Daz was originally drafted by the Astros before being flipped to the Tigers with righthander Franklin Perez and catcher Jake Rogers as part of the package used to acquire Justin Verlander for Houston’s run to the World Series. Cameron hit a career-high 14 home runs in 2017, then built on that year by zooming from high Class A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo in 2018.
SCOUTING REPORT: Cameron is a well-rounded player with no overwhelming tool, but no below-average one either. He unlocked his offensive game with a tweak in his approach. By being more aggressive early in the count he found more pitches on which to do damage. He’s an average hitter with average power. Defensively, he’s an above-average defender in center field with an above-average arm. He’s a plus runner who needs to sharpen his baserunning instincts to become a more efficient basestealer.
THE FUTURE: Cameron could make an appearance in the big leagues at some point in 2019. His ability to play a solid center gives him a path to a future everyday job, while his arm gives him a fallback as a fourth outfielder.
TRACK RECORD: Of the seven prep pitchers drafted in the first round in 2015, two didn’t pitch in 2018, a third threw less than 10 innings and a fourth posted a 5.24 ERA in Class A. The durable Burrows has been more of a success story as he quickly climbed to Double-A.
SCOUTING REPORT: Everything for Burrows is based off of an effective 92-94 mph fastball that can touch 97. The pitch is more effective when thrown up in the zone for swinging strikes. He backs the pitch up with a pair of breaking balls, which work well in tandem, though neither is a plus pitch on its own. Burrows had more success throwing his low-70s curveball for called strikes, and he has shown the ability bury his mid-80s slider. His fringe-average changeup could develop into an above-average pitch if he could command it better. His delivery, which includes a very high front elbow and works as somewhat of a see-saw, might hinder attempts to improve his fringe-average control.
THE FUTURE: Burrows should begin 2019 in Triple-A. The Tigers will try to develop him into a No. 4 starter, but his command issues and secondaries may eventually push him to the bullpen.
TRACK RECORD: Meadows is the younger brother of Rays outfielder Austin Meadows, and both brothers attended Grayson High in Georgia. Austin went ninth overall to the Pirates in 2013. Parker was a third-team high school All-American in 2018, when the Tigers selected him with the first pick in the second round. They spent $2.5 million to keep him from a Clemson commitment. Meadows ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and briefly made it to the New York-Penn League.
SCOUTING REPORT: Meadows has plus raw power and could hit for plus power in games in the future. But scouts have questions about his overall feel to hit, with long arms and a significant hitch in his load, which can be described as something of an arm bar. Even so, Meadows is an athletic and plus runner underway, and while his size might fit better in a corner one day, he should be a solid defender. The profile power and plus arm could make him a right fielder in the future.
THE FUTURE: Meadows’ bloodlines give him a feel for the game, and after a strong pro debut in which he showed patience and power, he should move to full-season ball at low Class A West Michigan in 2019.
TRACK RECORD: Power has been Stewart’s calling card ever since his high school days. His 69 homers over four years at Providence Christian Academy set a Georgia state record. From there, Stewart spent three more years mashing at Tennessee before the Tigers made him the second of their two first-rounders in 2015 and signed him for just shy of $1.8 million.
SCOUTING REPORT: Stewart’s plus power remains his carrying tool. He hit 23 home runs at Triple-A Toledo in 2018 to tie for the International League lead. The lefthanded-hitting Stewart’s home run power is geared strongly to his pull side. His hit tool is just fringe-average, and he has a swing geared to hit balls at the bottom of the zone. But he has the strike-zone awareness to lay off when pitchers work around him, so he posts solid on-base percentages. Stewart will have to continue to crush balls, because his defense in left field and throwing arm, though improved, are well below-average. He has below-average speed as well.
THE FUTURE: Stewart will get at-bats in the big leagues as the Tigers rebuild. He is a hard worker who will try to prove he’s more than a DH.
TRACK RECORD: Castro, who was born in Puerto Rico but raised in the Dominican Republic, became the Indians’ top non-Cuban international signee in 2013 when he inked a deal for $825,000. He has been among the youngest players at every stop during his pro career, and he opened 2018 as the fourth-youngest player in the Double-A Eastern League. The Tigers acquired Castro from the Indians as a part of the deal for outfielder Leonys Martin. He finished the year with a cameo at Triple-A Toledo.
SCOUTING REPORT: Switch-hitters can be tricky to project, and that’s certainly the case with Castro. For example, at Double-A Akron, he hit all five of his home runs lefthanded, whereas all but one of the four home runs he hit with Double-A Erie came from the right side. Overall, he projects as a below-average hitter with a 5-10 home run pop. He’s a solid defender at shortstop who was rated by EL managers as the circuit’s best defender at the position. He backs that up with plus arm and above-average speed.
THE FUTURE: With further development and physical maturity, Castro could be a second-division regular. He’s likely to spend the bulk of his 2019 at Toledo.
TRACK RECORD: Surgeries on both knees between Faedo’s sophomore and junior seasons at Florida kicked off his draft year with uncertainty. He started slowly in 2017 but finished strong enough to earn Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2017 College World Series as the Gators claimed the national championship. The Tigers selected Faedo 18th overall and signed him for $3.5 million. He made his pro debut at high Class A Lakeland in 2018.
SCOUTING REPORT: The first thing that jumped out about Faedo in 2018 was his missing fastball velocity. He sat 89-92 mph as a pro, down a couple of ticks from the 92-94 he sat in college. The lessened velocity affected all his pitches. Faedo’s average changeup sometimes lacked separation, and his once plus slider dropped a grade because of his lack of arm speed. And without the ability to beat hitters with his fastball or command his pitches, Faedo became home run prone. He allowed 15 in just 60 innings with Double-A Erie as a result of poor command that left a lot pitches in the middle of the zone.
THE FUTURE: It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that 2018 was Faedo’s pro debut. If he can rediscover his previous arm speed, his fastball and slider could still work as a starter.
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