The Detroit Tigers are finally calling up top prospect Casey Mize to make his major league debut on Wednesday. The right-hander was the first overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and his call-up has been long anticipated. What follows is a bit of background on the 23-year-old and a full scouting report of what to expect now that he's a big leaguer.
Despite putting up some gaudy numbers at Springville High School in Alabama, Mize went undrafted as a prep player. He committed to Auburn and wound up developing into one of college baseball's most dominant starters. During his junior year in 2018, Mize went 10-6 with a 3.30 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 114.2 innings.
Thanks to mid-90s velocity and an elite splitter, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound righty rocketed up draft boards. He was the consensus top pitcher available, and the Tigers took him with the top pick. They selected him over Joey Bart, Alec Bohm, Nick Madrigal and others. He rewarded Detroit's faith in him by immediately dominating minor league hitters.
In 2019, his first full year in the minors, Mize went 8-3 with a 2.55 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 109.1 innings. Those numbers were put up over two levels, and he finished the year in Double-A. He also threw a no-hitter in his debut at that level.
Unfortunately for Mize, shoulder inflammation put him in the injured list in mid-June and when he came back he wasn't as dominant, posting an ERA of 6.61. He was shut down in August. Obviously, the Tigers think whatever was bothering him was just a hiccup, because he's coming to the show.
When he's right, Mize sits in the mid-90s and works off of that with a slider that can sit in the mid-80s, or an even harder cutter. But his go-to pitch is a ridiculous splitter. He has decent command and can locate his fastball and splitter to both sides of the plate.
His delivery is unorthodox and appears a bit labored, but other than a few issues with soreness, he's never had a major arm injury. He has a track record of success at every level and there's no reason to believe he won't be a frontline starter at the big league level.
Get excited Tigers fans. The kids are finally coming up. While Detroit will have to wait a bit longer for 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson to hit the bigs, there are some other good young players ready to go. Mize is leading that charge.