Tigers’ Casey Mize could be one of the breakout rookies
Chicago — Mets slugger Pete Alonso was the breakout star in an impressive group of major league rookies last summer. Now another wave of young talent is looking to leave its mark on the sport.
Here is a closer look at a handful of rookies who could play a starring role this year:
►RHP Casey Mize, Tigers: It’s a big season for the 22-year-old Mize, who threw a no-hitter in his Double-A Erie debut last year, but also was hampered by shoulder inflammation. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft went 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts with the SeaWolves.
►OF Luis Robert, White Sox: The 22-year-old Robert joins a formidable White Sox lineup after agreeing to a $50 million, six-year contract in January — ahead of his major-league debut. The athletic Cuban slugger batted .328 with 32 homers, 92 RBIs and 36 steals over three minor league stops last season.
►INF Carter Kieboom, Nationals: Anthony Rendon’s departure in free agency created an opening at third base for the Nationals, and the reigning World Series champions are looking to Kieboom to fill the role. Kieboom spent most of last year with Triple-A Fresno, hitting .303 with 16 homers and 79 RBIs in 109 games.
►LHP Brendan McKay, Rays: McKay was hampered by shoulder stiffness early in spring training, but it looks as if the No. 4 pick in the 2017 amateur draft could take on a more prominent role with the Rays this year.
The two-way player made his major league debut in June, going 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games and 2 for 10 with a homer at the plate.
►OF Dylan Carlson, Cardinals: The switch-hitting Carlson is on the brink of his major league debut after an impressive 2019 season. The outfielder, who doesn’t turn 22 until October, batted .292 with 26 homers and 68 RBIs over two minor league stops. He was selected by St. Louis with the No. 33 pick in the 2016 draft.
►OF Jo Adell, Angels: There’s a lot to like about the 6-foot-3 Adell, who turns 21 on April 8. He finished last season with Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .264 with eight RBIs in 27 games with the Bees.
The 10th overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft could be headed back to the minors for the start of this season, but he might not be there for very long.
►2B Gavin Lux, Dodgers: The loaded Dodgers have a couple of promising rookies who could help the club this year, led by the sweet-swinging Lux.
The No. 20 pick in the 2016 amateur draft hit .347 in the minors last season. He made his big league debut in September, batting .240 with two homers in 23 games.
►LHP Jesús Luzardo, Athletics: Luzardo broke into the majors in September, striking out 16 in 12 innings and recording two saves in six relief appearances.
But the A’s think his future is in their rotation.
The left-hander went 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Las Vegas last year.
►OF Cristian Pache, Braves: The reigning NL East champions have a glut of outfielders after signing Marcell Ozuna to an $18-million, one-year contract in January. But Pache could make his big league debut this summer.
He batted .277 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs in the minors last season, finishing the year with Triple-A Gwinnett.