Casey Mize is living up to the hype after the first pick by the Detroit Tigers in the 2018 MLB Draft hurled a no-hitter in his debut for AA Erie Seawolves.
Mize, 21-year old right-hander, threw only 98 pitches to secure the no-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Altoona Curve. He hit the first batter of the game and walked another, but allowed zero hits. He struck out seven batters.
Mize, clearly nervous in his debut, said his fastball command was poor. He had to rely on cutters and a slurve.
“Dominant,” said Erie manager Mike Rabelo. “No deep counts. The only blemish was a hit-by-pitch and a walk. He was absolutely electric tonight.”
“It was definitely one of those days where it just felt like auto pilot,” Mize said after the game. “I’ve said that before. So, it was just a good day.”
Mize started the season in single-A ball in Lakeland but quickly received a promotion from the Tigers after only four starts. He compiled a 2-0 record and 0.35 ERA.
Undrafted to Top Pick
It’s rare to see a #1 pick that was not drafted in high school. That’s the exact case for Casey Mize. The last #1 pick to not get drafted in high school was Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.
Although he was ranked as the second-best high school pitcher in Alabama, Mize did not get drafted out of high school. He had a high ankle sprain at the time and seemed fully committed to playing at Auburn. His overall goal was to work on things in college that would make him a valuable prospect three years later.
During one summer off from college, Mize headed north to the infamous Cape Cod League to hone his pitching skills. He specifically worked on pitching from the stretch. When he returned to Auburn the next season, he pitched lights out.
By the time he was a junior, Mize mastered four pitches include a split-change and a slurve, which is gripped like curveball but thrown with a similar velocity of a slider. During his junior season with the Auburn Tigers, Mize threw a no-hitter. In March 2018, Mize tossed his no-no against Northeastern.
“I wish I would have enjoyed that more,” said Mize. “I learned from that, so I’m definitely going to let this one soak in.”
The Detroit Tigers selected Mize with the first pick in the draft. The scouts loved his fastball command, plus his ability to effectively use a secondary pitch to get out batters. His ability to throw multiple pitches came into play during his AA debut. Mize didn’t freak out when his fastball wasn’t working, so he had no problems throwing cut-fastballs and his slurve, which has become a nasty pitch for him.