Prep Baseball Report

2018 MLB Draft to the Show: Then & Now Casey Mize

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

Just four weeks into the 2020 MLB Season, we’ve already seen 13 debuts by 2018 draft selections, plus another who went undrafted, but was signed just a couple days later. Today, we begin a slightly different approach to our Then & Now series by looking at the amateur reports of those 2018 prospects who have made it to The Show. Naturally, first up is the No. 1 overall selection and top prospect from the 2018 PBR Draft Board Casey Mize.

To check out our Then & Now series from this past spring featuring 2020 draft prospects, please see Draft HQ/Then & Now.


Casey Mize, RHP, Detroit Tigers (Auburn) 1st Round (No. 1 overall)
Mize separated himself from the rest of the pack with a stellar spring in 2018, making him a shoo-in as the top pick. After logging 114.2 innings for the Auburn Tigers, he tossed just 13.2 over five appearances that summer. In his first full pro season, Mize breezed through High-A and Double-A with a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 4-1 and threw a no-hitter in his Double-A debut. With no minor league baseball and the shortened season in 2020, he was added to Detroit’s 60-man player pool and called up to the big leagues on Aug. 19 to face the Chicago White Sox. He went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking none. Debut Video & Boxscore

THEN 2018: Tiger ace and Friday night starter…“Easily the best pitcher with the best “stuff” I have seen on the amateur level for quite some time. Strike-throwing power pitcher who generated repeated swing/miss with four different pitches while commanding all of them throughout his start. Kept hitters off balance with a four-pitch arsenal; fastball, split CH, cutter, slider and knows how to mix them up/down, in/out and back/forth. He did not “pitch off” of any one pitch. He pitched off all of them. Was a magician with his feel for the ball and manipulating the action on it. Mize is very tough for opposing hitters to square up, but very easy for Trackman operators to “tag.” He has a large spin rate differential and action on all of his pitches. His 2226-2376 rpm spin rate fastball showed average life, peaked at 96 mph in the first inning and maintained 93-95 the entire outing. He threw harder in the seventh (94-95) than the third (93-94). His best pitch, among three very good ones, is his split changeup at 86-88 mph. The low spin rate of 1243-1472 rpm gives it hard, late under the bat dive and induced repeated swing/miss. The speed, action and plus command down in the zone combine to give it a 70-grade on the scouting scale. His next best pitch was a plus cutter which checked in at 87-91 mph with a spin rate of 2349-2480 rpm. For a MLB comparison, Kenley Jansen’s cutter (the best in the game today) has an average spin rate of 2610 with a velocity of 95.5 mph. Obviously, Mize is not Jansen and this comparison is simply for illustration. Mize’s slider is his fourth pitch, average to above average in quality, and thrown at 81-85 mph. On the evening Mize struck out 12 in seven innings, throwing 104 pitches. Of his 12 strikeouts three were via fastball, five by cutter and four by split changeup. Mize works quick and repeats his delivery. He releases the ball at a height of 6-foot-1 with extension of 6-foot-4, on average. He is quick from the stretch to the plate at 1.12-1.20 seconds, sometimes too quick as he rushed and unintentionally elevated his fastball on a couple occasions. With continued good health this spring and a clean medical review from team doctors, Mize should easily be a top five overall pick in the draft. He profiles as a top of the rotation starter with Major League now stuff and the command of it. Should be a fast riser through any minor league system. With the Detroit Tigers picking at #1 and their fondness for college pitching, expect Mize to be considered for their top selection.”

FULL DRAFT REPORT from March 24, 2018

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