Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize’s struggles continue leaving plenty to question

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Tigers’ top pitching prospect Casey Mize was bombarded again, this time by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 23-year old right-hander Spring Training struggles continued after yielding five earned runs on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings of work Friday against the Blue Jays.  The Jays touched-up the young starter, adding to his atrocious 9.90 ERA.

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch was encouraged by Mize’s stuff despite the ugly boxscore.

"“I don’t think the results matched the stuff today,” Hinch said Friday. “I thought his stuff was really, really good. There were some positive things stepping forward. … Ended up being a bad day in the box score for him, but I was actually encouraged by how he came out of the gate in the first inning and then ultimately some of the stuff he was throwing.”"

Mize has appeared in four games this Spring, pitching a total of ten innings but hasn’t left Detroit Tigers’ fans feeling very optimistic.  Mize has fanned 12 batters but has given up 12 hits, 11 runs, plus he’s walked a total of ten batters.  The product of Auburn has allowed four home runs and provided the Tigers with a WHIP of 2.200.

Casey Mize has plenty of work left to do in the minor leagues before he’s ready to return to the Detroit Tigers rotation.

Last season Mize made seven starts for the Detroit Tigers in the COVID-19 shortened season, producing an elevated 6.99 ERA and 1.4282 WHIP.  In 28 1/3 innings of work, Mize struck out 26 hitters but allowed a whopping seven home runs plus 29 hits.  Giving up a home run per start never ends well, and his Spring Training pace is equal to last summer’s numbers.

Mize’s command is becoming quite concerning.  Last season Mize issued 13 free passes plus hit five additional batters.

At this time, it’s unclear if Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch will go with a five or six-man starting rotation in 2021.  Hinch has talked about both being a possibility.  One thing is all but certain, Mize won’t be a part of either to begin the regular season after struggling throughout Spring Training.

The soon-to-be 24-year old hurdler will be forced to prove himself in Triple-A Toledo before having another shot at earning his first career MLB victory.  I fully expect Mize to be in Detroit at some point in 2021, he’s likely slated to pitch upwards of 100 innings this season, but this may not be until the middle of summer.

I expect the Tigers to start with a rotation of Matthew Boyd, Jose Urena, Julio Teheran, Tarik Skubal, and Spencer Turnbull.  Don’t rule out Daniel Norris, who has performed exceptionally well this Spring, but Hinch may opt to see Norris bolster the teams’ bullpen to start the season.

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Michael Fulmer is also a candidate to be optioned to Toledo unless the organization is willing to let him work through his struggles coming out of the bullpen.