Detroit Tigers

Former 1st overall pick Casey Mize throws no-hitter in AA debut

Detroit Tigers prospect Casey Mize, the 2018 first overall pick, flashed his potential in his first Double-A start on Monday, throwing a no-hitter for Erie against Altoona.

The Detroit Tigers front office had an eye on Altoona, Pennsylvania on Monday night, where their top prospect Casey Mize was making his debut for Double-A Erie. What he did should give them plenty of optimism about the future.

Mize, 21, threw a no-hitter for Erie in his first start since being promoted to Double-A last week. He breezed through the Altoona lineup, walking one batter while striking out seven and facing just one over the minimum. He finished the game with an economical 98 pitches, 70 of which were for strikes. Altoona is the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Erie won the game 1-0 at Altoona’s Peoples Natural Gas Field. The no-hitter was the club’s second in five days, after the Tigers’ 2017 first round pick Alex Faedo and a reliever combined to hold Bowie hitless last Wednesday.

Mize began the year, his first full season in professional baseball after being selected first overall by the Tigers in last June’s draft, at Single-A Lakeland. He dominated in four starts there, giving up just one run in 26 innings while striking out 25. The Tigers had seen enough to know he was ready to be fast-tracked through their organization and promoted him on April 25.

The Alabama native went undrafted out of high school but then went on to star for Auburn. In his sophomore year, he led the NCAA in strikeout-to-walk ratio and threw a no-hitter against Northeastern during his junior year last March. The Tigers signed him to a $7.5 million signing bonus after the draft but limited him to just five games and 13.2 innings in 2018 after his heavy workload at Auburn.

Mize may be early into his pro career, but he already possesses a repertoire of pitches that should make him Major League-ready in short order. His fastball can reach 97 mph, but his best pitch is a splitter that dives at the plate. He also throws a good slider. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the second-best right-handed pitching prospect in baseball, behind only Houston Astros’ Minor Leaguer Forrest Whitley. He’s also the Tigers’ No. 1 ranked prospect.

His potential, perfectly on display Monday, could find him making his debut for the Tigers at some point later this season. But the most likely scenario is that Mize continues to progress through the Tigers system before joining their rotation in 2020.

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Either way, the Tigers know they have one of the most exciting pitching prospects to come around in years, one who should soon be wearing their uniform for what they hope is a long time.

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