Detroit Tigers’ top pick Casey Mize wants to be a regular guy

Tigers first overall pick Casey Mize, center, stands with team scout Justin Henry, left, and Scott Pleis, director of amateur scouting, during a news conference as he was introduced to the media in Detroit on June 25. (AP file photo)

By DICK SCANLON
Associated Press
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers issued jersey No. 74 to Casey Mize and for the next few days, he will be just one of 31 pitchers in camp, trying to get his arm and body ready for a long baseball season.
But the 21-year-old right-hander was the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft last June, and as Detroit’s No. 1 hope for the future, he was bound to attract more than his share of attention, even while just trying to fit in.
“When you’re a draft pick like that, everybody’s staring at you anyway,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You’ve got your name on your back and everybody’s paying attention and you can put more pressure on yourself.”
Not much pressure yet, says Mize.
“I’m super excited, but I don’t think there’s much different adrenaline just because of the time frame,” he said after his first outdoor workout in a big league training camp. “I think probably when I get on the mound in a game situation, there’ll be more adrenaline.”
That appearance is almost certain to come within the next two or three weeks and could well be the highlight of the Tigers’ spring.
“We’ll work him in some games,” said pitching coach Rick Anderson.
“I called him over the other day and I said: ‘You’re going to lead by example with what you do.’ You watch him work and he gets after it. He’s focused and driven,” Anderson said.
That’s fine by Mize.
“I’m not really trying to set an example for other people,” he said. “I’m just trying to do what I need to do, honestly, and if people look at that and see positive, that’s great.”