Detroit — Three times, the Tigers have picked first overall in the Major League Baseball Draft, which dates to 1965. But Casey Mize, when he gets his first start Wednesday in Chicago against the White Sox, will be the ninth No. 1 overall pick to play for Detroit.
Here’s a look at the other eight:
Mike Ivie, 1970
He was drafted by the San Diego Padres and showed prodigious power during his early minor-league days, but his major-league career was nothing to really rave about, even though it lasted 11 seasons. His career ended with the Tigers in 1982-83, with 14 homers and 38 RBIs in 80 games (all as a designated hitter) in 1982, but no home runs in 12 games (all at first base) before his release in 1983.
Mike Moore, 1981
The Seattle Mariners selected the college right-hander 1-1, and he was in the major leagues the next year. His career was a mixed bag, though there were several fine seasons, particularly with those great Oakland A’s teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Before the 1993 season, he signed a three-year, $10-million deal with the Tigers and pitched three seasons, with a 5.90 ERA, before retiring.
Tim Belcher, 1983
Quite similar to Moore, in height (6-foot-4) and varying degrees of success, he was drafted by the New York Yankees, but debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched for seven teams in his 14-year major-league career, with a one-year stop in Detroit in 1994. For $3.4 million, the Tigers saw him go 7-15 with a 5.89 ERA and a 1.667 WHIP. On that ragged starting staff, that nearly made him the ace.
Phil Nevin, 1992
The Houston Astros took him first and he briefly played for them in 1995, before he was shipped to the Tigers as the “player to be named” for closer Mike Henneman. In 160 games over parts of three seasons, the burly, right-handed slugger had 19 home runs and 66 RBIs before Detroit gave up and sent him to the Angels for catcher Matt Walbeck. He went on to have monster seasons with the Padres.
Matt Anderson, 1997
Before Mize in 2018, this was the Tigers’ only No. 1 overall draft pick, the lanky right-hander out of Rice who could chuck it 100 mph. They opted for a closer when three of the next four picks were J.D. Drew, Troy Glaus and Vernon Wells. Anderson lit up the radar gun for Detroit, but a shoulder injury (from an octopus toss?) derailed his career, which was over after a last-ditch stop in Cincinnati in 2005.
Delmon Young, 2003
His brother Dmitri played for the Tigers first, but was gone from Detroit by the time Delmon was traded from the Minnesota Twins in the summer of 2011. Delmon, who was picked 1-1 by Tampa Bay, had his personal issues (the ump incident, an arrest in New York, etc.), but in his short time with the Tigers he proved huge, particularly in their postseason runs in 2011 and 2012. They let him go after 2012.
Justin Upton, 2005
This was a surprising addition by the Tigers, given he signed in 2016, just as the team’s long rebuild was about to take shape. A six-year, $132.75-million contract didn’t seem to make much sense, and in the end, it didn’t, as he was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels in August 2017, for essentially no return. Selected 1-1 by the Arizona Diamondbacks, he did hit 59 homers in 278 games for the Tigers.
David Price, 2007
The ace left-hander was the centerpiece of two blockbuster trades involving the Tigers, the first in 2014 when he came from the Rays, his original team, in a deal that cost the Tigers Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly and Willy Adames. That was the last year the Tigers made the playoffs, getting swept by Baltimore in the first round (with that rotation!). In 2015, he was dealt to Toronto for Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris.
Note: The Tigers’ third No. 1 overall pick was Spencer Torkelson, taking in this year’s draft.