The former first overall selection of the Detroit Tigers has struggled mightily with his control throughout Spring Training, and it’s becoming quite worrisome.
Usually, we don’t look too much into Spring Training statistics, especially regarding veteran players because they enter each at-bat or start because they typically have an agenda. The problem is Mize isn’t a veteran player and needed a stellar Spring in order to make the Detroit Tigers opening day roster; something he’s failed to do.
Players may be working on a specific pitch or approach during a plate appearance, so it’s difficult to be overly critical when watching or tracking games. As we approach the final week of Spring ball, we should start to see an everyday lineup and players transitioning into regular-season form.
Detroit Tigers’ top pitching prospect, Casey Mize’s struggles from 2020 are carrying over into 2021.
Similar to last summer, Mize has continued to struggle with his command this Spring. In his last start, the soon-to-be 24-year old right-hander failed to pitch out of the third inning.
Mize gave up a pair of home runs, including one being a grand slam to Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius. Mize also left a 96 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate that slugger Bryce Harper deposited over the right-center field wall.
Mize talked about that pitch to Harper here;
“[I] had him 0-2. Really, really nice plan that we’d kind of planned out,” Mize said. “Had him right where we felt like we wanted him, but I didn’t get the four-seamer up enough, left it over the heart of the plate and he smashed it.”
Last season Mize went 0-3 in seven starts producing an era of 6.99 to go with a WHIP of 1.482. Mize struck out 26 batters but walked 13 and yielded seven home runs.
This Spring, Mize has tossed 6 1/3 innings in his three appearances, walking a whopping nine batters while striking out seven and allowing six earned runs. That works out to an era of 8.53 and a WHIP of 2.053. Yikes.
That isn’t exactly what newly appointed Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch hoped to see out of the organization’s top pitching prospect and team’s second overall prospect.
Mize isn’t the only youngster struggling; top prospect Spencer Torkelson started Spring Training going 0-15 with an unmanageable nine strikeouts. Micheal Fulmer is also struggling, having allowed seven runs on six hits during four innings of work.
One can only assume both starting pitchers are destined to start the 2021 season in Tripe-A Toledo until they can right the ship.
If opening day were today, I’d expect the Detroit Tigers starting rotation to look like this; Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, Tarik Skubal, Julio Teheran, and Jose Urena. It’s noteworthy that Daniel Norris and Erasmo Ramirez both have looked very well in camp; I expect both to be utilized in the bullpen, knowing each can start if need be.