The Detroit Tigers possess two phenomenal starting pitching prospects that top their organizational rankings in the form of Matt Manning and Casey Mize. The question is, which of these two players will amount to be the better pitcher for the Tigers in the future.
In 2018, the Detroit Tigers selected Casey Mize out of Auburn with the first overall pick in the draft. Mize was a coveted arm, immediately surging towards the top prospect status in the organization based on his draft stock. Mize is a twenty-two-year-old, right-handed pitcher who is currently ranked as the number one prospect in the system.
Casey spent the majority of 2019 with the Double-A Erie Seawolves. For those fans who have forgotten, Mize tossed a no-hitter this past summer. All-in-all Casey would make fifteen starts for the Double-A Erie club, boasting a 6-3 record with a 3.20 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, with seventy-six punchouts over 78.2 innings pitched.
Mize’s counterpart for top prospect status in the organization is Matt Manning, coming in as the second-best prospect in the system. The Tigers selected Manning with the ninth overall selection in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft from Sheldon High School in California.
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Coming out of high school, rather than college, Manning is still only twenty-one-years old, also a right-handed pitcher like Mize. Manning spent all of 2019 with the Double-A Erie club, making twenty-four starts. On the season, Manning would finish with an 11-5 record, a 2.56 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and 148 punchouts over 133.2 innings pitched.
The kicker, when comparing these two prospects, is that Mize was shut down at the end of the season. Manning has been throwing injury free, while Mize has had some red flags emerge. Being a first overall pick, the nod goes to Mize, but with arm injuries flaring up here and there, it is possible that Manning pans out to be the starter.
Now, Mize’s arm issues have been chalked up to nothing serious with the shutdown being precautionary to avoid any severe injuries, that should be troubling to fans. If Mize is having arm issues in his first full season with the Tigers system, there is no telling if it could linger as a problem and become a long-term serious issue.
Something to be made clear, Mize having non-serious arm injuries does not mean that he will fall off and become a useless draft pick, but rather than being “Justin Verlander 2.0,” he may not be able to be that power arm.
If this is the case, a healthy Manning has every chance to be a future ace/power arm for this rotation. The point is, Manning has not given fans any doubt; he has been a solid pitcher through the organization up to Triple-A. Mize has given fans a reason to worry about his arm injuries, minimal or not.
Now talent transfers differently for everyone and who is to say that Manning will not hit a brick wall in Triple-A and slow down in is development, and Mize will not return, being just fine and carve his path to the big leagues with ease? No one.
The simple argument is that, at the current state, Mize’s arm situation should be a little troubling, and Manning’s dominance should be something to get excited about for the future.