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Casey Mize (32) Auburn baseball vs BYU on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.
Casey Mize (32) Auburn baseball vs BYU on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Auburn, Ala. Photo by Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

A look at Auburn Tigers in the MLB

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - With the 2023 MLB season officially underway, here's what you need to know about former Auburn Tigers making a name for themselves in the big leagues.

Four of the six Tigers playing in the bigs played under current Auburn Head Coach Butch Thompson. All four of these players are pitchers. Three of those pitchers Casey Mize, Keegan Thompson, and Davis Daniel all worked under former Atlanta Braves pitcher and Auburn alum Tim Hudson. Hudson came back to his college to be the pitcher coach from 2019-2021 developing a number of pitchers who have been drafted or should go on to be drafted. Trey Wingenter, however, was drafted before Hudson was done with his professional career.

Auburn may have sent some great pitchers to the show recently but there are a couple of names in the league for their offense. Josh Donaldson and Garret Cooper have both been in the league for 10 years now and have made a living off their bats.

Let's take a dive into each of these players and take a look at their performances so far in their careers.

Josh Donaldson

Anybody who knows anything about the MLB has heard this name or even his nickname "The Bringer of Rain." Donaldson was drafted by the Cubs in 2007 before making his debut in 2010 with the A's. He is regarded as one of the best hitters of the 2010's making three All-Star teams, winning two Silver Sluggers, and an AL MVP. In 2015, his MVP season, he hit .297 with 41 home runs and 123 RBIs. Donaldson currently plays for the Yankees as their starting third baseman. After having a few rough years and then winning comeback player of the year in 2019, Donaldson looks to bring his name back into the conversations of every MLB fan.

Garrett Cooper

After being drafted in 2013 in the sixth round, Cooper hung around in the minors before making his debut with the Yankees in 2017. Since 2017, Cooper has consistently hit around .280 for both the Yankees and his current team the Marlins. Cooper made his first All-Star team last year in 2022 in the DH role. Cooper looks to be more aggressive and bounce back after his average took a dip last season.

“I spent a lot of time this offseason changing an approach -- maybe be a little more aggressive early on in the counts and just not waiting for pitches," Cooper said. "Each year, you go into a season, [and] you have to adjust because they adjust with you every single day and every single pitch. Just to come in this year with a little bit different approach, a little bit different attitude when I'm in the box."

Cooper showed just what he's capable of in the first half of last season where he had a monstrous run. When he figures out a plate approach that works for him, Cooper will solidify himself as an All-Star candidate year in and year out and could be looking at a very big contract in the future.

Casey Mize

Every Auburn fan remembers when Casey Mize was here on the plains before going on to be drafted number one overall by the Detroit Tigers in 2018. Mize made his first career start in the 2020 season where he started seven games. Just one season later Mize found himself solidified in the Tiger's rotation. Unfortunately during the 2022 season, Mize underwent Tommy John surgery, cutting his season short. Shortly after, Mize underwent back surgery. For the 2023 season, Mize will start on the IL and will be rehabbing. The Tigers have not set a timetable on Mize's return.

Keegan Thompson

Thompson has had an interesting path to get to where he is now with the Cubs after being drafted in 2017 and debuting in 2021. Since being called up Thompson's role has yet to be solidified as a starter or middle relief guy. He started most of his games in 2022 with 17 starts, however, he was still called on to relive 12 times that season. For the 2023 season, the Cubs have decided to use Thompson out of the pen, at least for now. During Thompson's young career, the relief role has suited him better in 2021. Thompson had a 2.43 ERA with 10 earned runs in 37.0 IP as a reliever and a 5.51 ERA with 10 earned runs in 16.1 IP as a starter. In 2022 Thompson posted a 1.47 ERA in 36.1 IP out of the pen and a 4.83 ERA in 78.1 IP as a starter.

Thompson is 13-8 overall in his career with 2 saves. With a 1.33 WHIP, if Thompson finds his role in the pen and takes it on his sleeve he could be a dangerous weapon for the Cubs in years to come.

Davis Daniel

Daniel is set to make his big league debut this year for the Angels after being drafted in 2019. Daniel will start the 2023 season on the IL. Daniel moved through the minor league ranks fast starting in 2021 in high A ball and making his way all the way to Triple AAA in just one season. Through his time in the Minors, Daniel has started 43 games, posting a 4.19 ERA with 237 strikeouts in 217 IP. What stands out for Daniel is his WHIP at an impressive 1.20. The Angels need all the arm talent they can get, so it creates a good opportunity for Daniel to come into the club in a big way, and he certainly has the ability to.

Trey Wingenter

Being drafted in 2015 by the Padres, Wingenter made his debut in 2018 for the same team. After just two years of work from the bullpen, appearing 73 times, Wingeneter had a 5.14 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP and a .188 BAA. After having to get Tommy John surgery and suffering from a torn ACL, Wingeneter hung around in the minors until the Tigers signed and called him up to the show for the 2023 season. It will be interesting to see how Wingenter performs after pitching in the big leagues for the first time in four seasons; on top of all the minor and major injuries he has sustained.

Every year Auburn's presence in the MLB and Minor Leagues continues to grow, with six former players on active rosters and 25 players in the Minors. Make sure you keep an eye on these former Tigers looking to engrave their name in baseball greatness.