Casey A. Mize
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 220 lb.
- School Auburn University
- High School Springville (AL) High School
- Debut August 19, 2020
Pitcher Casey Mize was the first overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, by the Detroit Tigers, out of Auburn University. The pick was not a surprise, as Mize had been identified early on as the top player available in the draft and while the Tigers said they also considered other possibilities, it was clear that he was always the main object of their focus. What is interesting is that he was not drafted out of high school in 2015, even though he had been ranked the number one high school pitcher in the state of Alabama at Springville High School, out of concerns about a sprained ankle and questions about his signability.
He alleviated any health concerns at Auburn as he went 8-2, 2.04 as a sophomore in 2017 and played for the United States collegiate national team the following summer. He had another great season as a junior to cement his stock, including pitching a no-hitter on March 9, 2018. He also showed outstanding control, with a 109/9 K/W ratio as a sophomore and 140/10 through his first 15 starts as a junior. He was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award that year, but lost out to Andrew Vaughn. He was a two-time All-American considered extremely polished and already pitching at a level equivalent to AA when he was drafted, and one scout called his splitter "nearly unhittable" and the best pitch of anyone eligible for the draft. He signed with the Tigers on June 25th, receiving a signing bonus of $7.5 million.
Mize made 5 starts in the minor leagues in 2018, 1 with the GCL Tigers West and 4 with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, pitching a total of 13 2/3 innings with a record of 0-1, 3.95. He started 2019 back with Lakeland and went 2-0, 0.35 in 4 dominant starts, during which he gave up just 7 hits and 1 walk in 26 innings, while striking out 25 opponents. On April 29th, he was promoted to the AA Erie SeaWolves and marked the occasion by pitching a nine-inning no-hitter, walking 1 and striking out 7 in a 1-0 win over the Altoona Curve. He had finished his last game in Class A with 8 scoreless innings, and in his first start after the no-no, he did not give up a hit until two outs in the 3rd, giving him a streak of 56 outs without allowing a hit over the three games. He won that follow-up start as well, allowing just an unearned run in 5 hits. He finished the year with a combined record of 8-3, 2.55 in 21 starts, with 106 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings, against 23 walks.
He was in spring training with the major league team in 2020 and doing fine in limited action, but the plan was for him to start the year in AAA. That was before the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training, and there was now some question as to what would be done with him, considering that there would likely be no minor league baseball being played when MLB eventually re-started. He ended up starting the year in the Toigers' alternate training site, before making his debut on August 19th against the Chicago White Sox, facing off against Dane Dunning, another top prospect and former first-round pick, who was making his major league debut. It was only the second time since the adoption of the amateur draft in 1965 that two first-rounders had faced one another in their debut, with Rick Porcello and Ricky Romero having done so in 2009. The two pitchers had similar lines, both going 4 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs and striking out 7. It turned out to be a bit of a rough welcome to the majors, as he went 0-3, 6.99 in his 7 starts. His underlying numbers weren't that bad, with 29 hits allowed in 28 1/3 innings, 26 strikeouts and 13 walks, although he did allow 7 homers, so it was mainly a question of making some small adjustments, which the shortened season and lack of minor league play did not allow him to make.
He was back in the Tigers' starting rotation at the beginning of 2021 and on April 12th showed the flash that had made him such a vaunted prospect when he pitched 7 scoreless innings against the Houston Astros to record his first career win, 6-2 (the Astros scored both of their runs against the bullpen).
- Jason Beck: "Tigers draft Mize No. 1 overall, add OF Meadows: Auburn righty has ace potential; HS outfielder could grow into needed impact bat", mlb.com, June 5, 2018. 
- Jason Beck: "Debut season a 'big-time reminder' for Mize", mlb.com, January 20, 2021. 
- William Boor: "No-no on 98 pitches? He's No. 1 pick for reason", mlb.com, April 29, 2019. 
- Mark Feinsand: "How Mize went from undrafted to fave to go No. 1", mlb.com, June 4, 2018. 
- Anthony Fenech: "It's official! Detroit Tigers take Casey Mize 1st overall in 2018 MLB draft", The Detroit Free Press, June 4, 2018. 
- Tyler Fenwick: "Mize embraces expectations as No. 1 pick: Tigers prospect eager to learn professional ropes in Minors", mlb.com, June 27, 2018. 
- Kelsie Heneghan: "Mize's struggles pave way for future success", mlb.com, March 5, 2021. 
- Jeff Seidel: "How 'insane' lifestyle has ignited Casey Mize's rise through baseball, soon to Tigers", USA Today, May 17, 2020. 
- George Sipple: "Detroit Tigers' Casey Mize gets big payday, to get some work in minors", Detroit Free Press, June 25, 2018. 
- Matthew Stevens: "Auburn RHP Casey Mize selected No. 1 overall by Detroit Tigers", USA Today Sports, June 4, 2018.