Mize, Singer among top prospects for MLB draft


Associated Press

NEW YORK

Casey Mize has dazzled scouts for months with his impressive arsenal of pitches.

The tantalizingly talented Auburn right-hander could find himself leading off the Major League Baseball draft tonight, with the Detroit Tigers ready to go on the clock with the No. 1 pick .

While Mize has long been the favorite to be the top selection, he’s not necessarily the type of no-doubt, sure-thing prospect Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Bryce Harper (2010) were considered in their draft years. Florida righty Brady Singer and Georgia Tech catcher Joey Bart are also possibilities to have their names called first by Commissioner Rob Manfred at MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

For the Tigers, it’s the first time they have the No. 1 pick since they took Rice pitcher Matt Anderson in 1997.

“I don’t know if there’s a can’t-miss,” Tigers general manager Al Avila recently told reporters. “From draft to draft, you try to say, ‘Who’s that can’t-miss?’ There’s been plenty of can’t-misses that have missed, as you all know, in the history of the draft, but there are good players in this draft.

“And there’s going to be players in this draft who are going to get to the big leagues, and there will be players in this draft who may end up being All-Stars or maybe even franchise players. And they come from all places in the draft.”

Here are some of the top players eligible for the draft (with position, school, age, height, weight and college class):

JOEY BART

C, Georgia Tech, 21, 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, junior.

The Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year led the conference in hitting with a .359 average and topped the Yellow Jackets with a .632 slugging percentage, 79 hits, 16 home runs, 55 runs scored and a .471 on-base percentage. Bart had a 16-game hitting streak this season and has terrific power potential at the next level. He’s also one of the country’s best defensive catchers, with a .992 fielding percentage on the season while throwing out 12 of 33 would-be base stealers.

ALEC BOHM

3B, Wichita State, 21, 6-5, 240, junior.

Bohm is one of the top offensive players in the draft, hitting .339 with 16 homers — the most by a Wichita State player since 2004 — and 55 RBIs with 14 doubles and 39 walks. He also showed a knack for hitting in the clutch by setting a school record with three grand slams this year, and led the team with 10 go-ahead RBIs. Bohm will likely play either third or first base at the next level.

NOLAN GORMAN

3B, O’Connor H.S. (Arizona), 18, 6-1, 210.

Gorman has made scouts drool with his raw power that has been on display while winning high school home run derbies around the country. MLB.com rated him the No. 1 power hitter among all players in the draft, prep or college, and his fast bat and hands are expected to translate to the pro level.

ETHAN HANKINS

RHP, Forsyth Central H.S. (Georgia), 18, 6-6, 200.

Hankins has a blazing fastball that reaches 98 mph at times and some consider it the best in the draft. He missed a month with tightness in a muscle in his shoulder that affected his overall effectiveness and dropped him out of the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick. But the big righty is still highly coveted, and some believe his fastball has potential for gaining even more zip to go along with a solid changeup.

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