Detroit Tigers 40-Man Roster Preview: Casey Mize has ace potential
Casey Mize was good last season; in 2022, he looks to become a top-of-the-rotation arm for the Detroit Tigers
Manager AJ Hinch insisted when he took the manager position for the Detroit Tigers that if the organization was going to be competitive, they had to get the pitching right. The previous season was disastrous for the group, including for top prospect Casey Mize, who made seven starts and supplied a 6.99 ERA.
Hinch clearly wasn’t gravely concerned about Mize or Skubal or he wouldn’t have taken the job in the first place, but the coaching staff and Mize put together a very solid 2021 campaign despite being on an innings limit.
Who is Casey Mize?
Mize is the 2018 first overall selection by the Detroit Tigers. Before his pro days, though, he was pitching Friday nights for his college, the Auburn Tigers. Mize was a first-team All-American and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award awarded to the best college player in the country (that award would go to now-White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn ultimately).
Mize spent two seasons in the minor leagues (three, counting the alternate site), amassing 26 games, all starts, with a 2.71 ERA and 120 strikeouts across 123 innings, which includes a Mize no-hitter for the Erie Seawolves.
Mize was called up during the pandemic year and made his major league debut without fans; scuffling in his debut season. In 2021, though, Mize fared much better and supplied a 1.2 fWAR campaign in his official rookie season.
Casey Mize’s game
Mize was a bit of a unicorn coming out of Auburn because he features an expansive and well-developed arsenal of pitches with command. He features a four-seamer, cutter, sinker, slurve, and splitter. The splitter is his biggest swing-and-miss offering, with some scouts giving it an 80 on the 20-80 scale.
Mize is also different in that, while he can generate a lot of swing-and-miss, much of the time he is content with keeping hitters off-balance and generating soft contact. There were some questions about his command and him perhaps over-relying on certain pitches from start to start, but in a recent article published by Baseball America, scouts feel that he has regained his elite command this spring.
2022 ZiPS Projections
Our take on Casey Mize
Armed with his regained command and improved secondaries, Mize is primed for a breakout in 2022. His numbers last year were that more of a mid-rotation arm, but he has shown that top-of-the-rotation potential this spring that many felt he would be coming out of Auburn.
Doing projections is always a risky bet with pitchers, so I can’t fault the ZiPS projection here. Health is such a crucial factor, but if Mize can maintain the mid-season form he’s displayed thus far, he should outperform the projections by a sizable margin for the Detroit Tigers next season.