4 Detroit Tigers who are key to a playoff berth in 2022

Mar 20, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Javier Baez (28) hits a 2-RBI double during the first inning against the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Javier Baez (28) hits a 2-RBI double during the first inning against the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Aug 10, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize (12) delivers a twenty-third inning pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers Starting Pitcher Casey Mize

There are two ways to look at the season that Casey Mize had in 2021. The first way is his bWAR of 3.3, throwing 150 innings and making 30 starts which led all Detroit Tigers starters last season. Another way to look at his performance last season is his strikeout numbers, which was 7.06 per 9 innings and having a FIP of 4.71.

Looking his numbers from last season, if there was one pitch that helped when his splitter was not working was his slider was able to generate a whiff% of 28% and was his go to put away pitch and produced an impressive run value of -10. It added a different element to his game last season.

The splitter generated just a whiff% of 21% last season. Another item to note is throwing the splitter more in 2021 compared to 2020, he generated a run value of -3.

But one pitch that drew my interest is his curve, which is more like a knuckle curve. Batters hit just .129 against it and was able to generate a 26.4% whiff rate on it. He only threw it just 6% of the time, but it provided a different element to his pitches, since he throws a four-seamer, splitter, and a sinker. In the grand scheme of things, it adds up to three different types of fastballs.

Similar to Tarik Skubal, you want to see the amount of home runs given up to be reduced in order for the Tigers to have a chance. Add in pitching better against his division opponents. He went 2-6 against the Twins, Royals and White Sox last season, the two wins came against Kansas City.

By taking his strikeout game to the next level, Mize will help Detroit stay in contention.

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