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Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize among top Major League Baseball rookies to watch this summer

The Detroit Tigers’ Casey Mize pitches in the bullpen during training camp at Comerica Park on July 4 in Detroit. (AP photo)

By JAY COHEN

AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO — Baseball’s 60-game season is plenty of time for a young slugger or pitcher to play a pivotal role in a playoff run.

Here is a closer look at a handful of rookies who could grab a starring role this year:

• OF Luis Robert, Chicago 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, Washington 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.

• LHP Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays: The delay to the start of the season created plenty of time for McKay to prepare after he was hampered by shoulder stiffness early in spring training. The No. 4 pick in the 2017 amateur draft could take on a more prominent role after the two-way player made his major league debut last year, going 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games.

≤ OF Dylan Carlson, St. Louis 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.

• 2B Gavin Lux, Los Angeles 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.

• LHP Jesus Luzardo, Oakland 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 in Triple-A.

• RHP Deivi Garcia, New York Yankees: The development of the 21-year-old Garcia took on added significance for the Yankees after Luis Severino was lost for the season with an elbow injury. Now Garcia could begin the year in New York’s rotation after he struck out 165 in 111 1/3 innings in the minors in 2019.

• 2B Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs: The 23-year-old Hoerner became the first member of the 2018 draft class to join a big league roster when he was promoted in September. The former Stanford star looked pretty comfortable with the Cubs, batting .282 in 20 games.

• RHP Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers: It’s a big season for the 23-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.

• LHP MacKenzie Gore, San Diego Padres: The 6-3 Gore is one of baseball’s top pitching prospects. He went 9-2 with a sparkling 1.69 ERA in 20 minor league starts in 2019, striking out 135 in 101 innings.