Casey Mize Was In Midseason Form Against The Yankees Today
I'm going to contain my giddy excitement here for a second and say that I'm aware that the Yankees weren't throwing out their A-list lineup against the Tigers today. No Judge, no Stanton, no Donaldson. But that leads to an interesting question.
Do I give a give a shit? The answer is no.
Thus far in spring, Detroit's former number one pick has looked the part. Mize had the rock-solid rookie season a year ago. It was hard to complain despite the few struggles that he had. The Tigers handled him incredibly well and monitored his innings closely. A.J. Hinch and pitching coach Chris Fetter have never been big velocity guys. If they have a pitcher that throws 100 MPH, they're not going to turn them away, but last year when Matt Manning and Casey Mize were peaking at 94-95 mph, they seemed to be the only ones who weren't panicking. Their goal is to teach these pitchers to get the mechanics right first, and then you'll find the velocity. So far in spring, Casey Mize found the velocity again. He's been hovering around 96-97 MPH with many elevated fastballs and a lot of strikeouts. The strikeouts are very important because as long as he stays healthy, I think Casey Mize probably has a small chance of being considered a bust. But his ability to miss bats will separate him from good to Cy Young caliber. When he was drafted out of Auburn, the expectation was that his splitter would be his big swing and miss pitch. It was pretty inconsistent for him a year ago. Thankfully, it seems like he's making a concerted effort to get that pitch back to a point where guys are whiffing at it.
I don't like being a cheerleader. There are concerns that I've seen out of the Tigers so far. Several of their hitters from last season have looked slightly sluggish at the plate. But the one thing I am very confident in is that this team will have some excellent pitchers. Eduardo Rodriguez has looked great, and Casey Mize has looked even better. Al Avila has said for roughly 100 years that the first thing the Tigers need to do is get their pitching right. And while it's taken forever, I feel like that part of the rebuild is relatively close to completion. Just stay healthy, and let's get to opening day.