Tuesday, May 30 2023

Now that Super Bowl LVII has concluded, it is time for Major League Baseball to begin preparations for the 2023 season.

Pitchers and catchers have reported to their club’s respective camps in either Florida or Arizona in hopes to build a solid roster that will push them to the World Series. For 12 former Tigers, several are looking to continue honing their craft while others are working to earn a spot on their team’s Opening Day roster.

Keegan Thompson, Casey Mize, and Josh Donaldson headline the 12-member representation, and each of them has a different story.

Thompson, a 10-game winner for the Chicago Cubs in 2022, looks to build off of his successful first full season in the MLB. It will be a comeback season of sorts for Mize, who had two off-season surgeries. Finally, Donaldson looks to return to his usual power-hitting form and bring another championship to the Bronx.

Who else is representing Auburn at MLB Spring Training? Take a look below.

Blake Burkhalter, Atlanta Braves

AP Photo/John Peterson

After leading the SEC in saves in 2022, [autotag]Blake Burkhalter[/autotag] is quickly climbing up the ranks by accepting his first invite to MLB Spring Training. He recorded 16 saves last season and was developed by former Brave, Tim Hudson. He is expected to be a late reliever once he makes it to the show.

Garrett Cooper, Miami Marlins

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Garrett Cooper[/autotag] has quietly turned into a solid first baseman for the Miami Marlins. He appeared in a career-high 119 games last season, and tied his career-high in RBI with 50. To top all of that, he made his first All-Star Game of his career in 2022 as well. Could we see more great things out of Cooper this season?

Davis Daniel, Los Angeles Angels

Photo: AU Athletics

[autotag]Davis Daniel[/autotag] got his feet wet last season by getting the call up last June to join the MLB club, but was returned to Triple-A Salt Lake City just three days later. He struck out 83 batters in 21 starts last season in the Minor Leagues, and will work this spring to make a case for earning a spot on the Angels’ MLB roster.

Josh Donaldson, New York Yankees

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was bit of an off-year for [autotag]Josh Donaldson[/autotag], as the known “Bringer of Rain” was only limited to 15 home runs and 62 RBI. He will be a vital piece to the Yankees’ lineup this season as the 27-time World Champions took to make a deep postseason run in 2023.

Bailey Horn, Chicago Cubs

Photo: AU Athletics

[autotag]Bailey Horn[/autotag] is one of two former Tigers that will be heading to Spring Training as a member of the Cubs orgainization, which is managed by another former Tiger in [autotag]David Ross[/autotag]. The 25-year old southpaw appeared in 33 games last season, where he struck out 74 batters and posted an ERA of 2.79 in 51.2 innings of work between stops at High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee.

Edouard Julien, Minnesota Twins

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are many former Tigers to get excited about heading into the 2023 MLB season, but [autotag]Edouard Julien[/autotag] has claimed the top spot on the list. Julien is the Twins’ No. 5 prospect and it’s easy to see why. His incredible lineup presence at Auburn has translated to the professional game, as he clubbed 17 home runs and scored 69 runs last season as a member of Double-A Wichita. His contract was selected by the Twins last November, and, if Spring Training is a success, he will be a member of the MLB roster for opening day.

Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers

Detroit Free Press

[autotag]Casey Mize[/autotag], Auburn’s first No. 1 overall selection, started in just two games last season for Detroit following two seperate injury issues that required Tommy John surgery, as well as back surgery. Now that both issues are taken care of, Mize tells the Detroit Free Press that “I can be the best player I can be and completely healthy.” Expect to see an improved Casey Mize this season in Detroit.

Daniel Robert, Texas Rangers

Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

After being used primarily as a first baseman during his time at Auburn, [autotag]Daniel Robert[/autotag] has made the full-time move to the mound in the minor leagues. In 37 games last season at Triple-A Round Rock, Robert struck out 48 batters and recorded two saves in 38.2 innings. Robert will look to have a great Spring Training as a non-roster invitee in hopes of making the Opening Day roster for the Texas Rangers.

Matt Scheffler, Seattle Mariners

Cat Wofford/Auburn Athletics

[autotag]Matt Scheffler[/autotag] continues to be a run producer at the plate. After tallying 42 RBI in a season-and-a-half at Auburn, he recorded 33 RBI as a member of the Arkansas Travelers last season, the Mariners’ Double-A affiliate. He fielded at a .930 clip, spending time at catcher and first base, but spent most of his time at catcher.

Keegan Thompson, Chicago Cubs

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Keegan Thompson[/autotag] had a phenomal first full-season in the MLB by picking up 10 wins and posting an ERA of 3.76 while striking out 108 batters in 115.0 innings of work. The Cubs have revamped their roster with stars such as Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger, which makes way for Thompson to gain more run support, thus turning into the best season of his professional career.

Ryan Watson, Baltimore Orioles

Photo: AU Athletics

Ryan Watson earns a non-roster invite to Spring Training after posting 108 strikeouts in 27 games between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season, doing so over 107.1 innings. The Orioles have one of the best farm systems in the league, which is a great sign for Watson as far as development goes.

Trey Wingenter, Detroit Tigers

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Trey Wingenter[/autotag] has had a small taste of the Majors, but has not pitched at the top level since 2019 as a member of the San Diego Padres. The Tigers signed Wingenter last month, which reunites him with former Auburn teammate, Casey Mize. If Wingenter can stay healthy in 2023, expect him to take on a bullpen role with Detroit.

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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