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Detroit -- Casey Mize was too good of a pitching prospect for the Detroit Tigers not to select him No. 1 overall in the MLB Draft on Monday.

The Auburn right-hander can command four pitches and has a mid-90s fastball. But Scott Pleis, the Tigers' director of amateur scouting -- while acknowledging Mize's potential -- preached patience in a draft review with the media on Friday.

"He's (Mize) very talented, he's advanced," Pleis said at Comerica Park. "He would be a fast mover, but you don't want to put any pressure on a guy to be here faster."

Some prognosticators are suggesting that Mize could reach the big leagues by 2020. Pleis wasn't putting a date on it and stressed that Mize wouldn't be rushed.

"You want him to still go through that development at pro ball -- it's different than college baseball," Pleis said. "Let him go through that and figure things out along the way. When it naturally becomes that time, then do it. There's no reason to shoot him through, but he has that type of ability."

More: Tigers' top pick Casey Mize won't take Miggy's bait

Mize's career at Auburn isn't over. He'll start on Saturday in the Gainesville Super Regional against Florida. The Tigers have committed significant resources to keeping tabs on their investment.

"Tomorrow we'll have three guys (scouts) there (at Gainesville)," Pleis said. "They'll monitor and make sure he's OK, chart his start."

The Tigers' patience was a theme for Pleis throughout the draft process. Much has been made about the different kind of approach the team had to this year's selections, and Pleis mentioned that the biggest difference was that the Tigers are no longer in a "win-now" mode.

"In past years here, it was win, win, win," Pleis said. "This year, we're way more athletic. And when you're picking 23rd in every round it's different than when you're picking (first) in every round, so we were able to get those guys that aren't usually there."

Analytics have been credited for altering the Tigers' approach to draft picks, something Pleis wasn't shy about echoing.

"We've gone from zero to 100 very fast," Pleis said. "Our analytics staff is fantastic. They were involved in every single pick. The body of information that we have now than we did four years ago, you can't even compare it. They (the analytics) go way deeper than we used to go."

The draft is now a group effort between analytical scouting and traditional scouting for the Tigers -- same as most MLB teams -- and Pleis was pleasantly surprised their picks this year satisfied both parties.

"I thought we might come to a point where the scouts liked one player and analytics liked another, but it worked out great. We worked together. The analytics liked all the guys we took and we liked all the guys we took, so it really worked out good."

It will be several years before some of the Tigers' 2018 draft picks have a chance to play at Comerica Park, and assessing the draft class will won't really be possible until then, either.

"It's difficult right after (to evaluate), Pleis said. "We did everything we could, and we feel good about it right now. Time will tell."

 

 

 

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