The Tigers are shutting down former first-overall selection and top pitching prospect Casey Mize, per Jason Beck of MLB.com. While he’s out of commission, he’ll remain with the Double-A Erie Seawolves before reporting to instructional league in mid-September.
As Beck notes, no one injury motivated the Tigers’ decision; rather the organization would prefer to take a cautious approach with its top minor-leaguer, who is playing in just his first professional season. While he did make a stint on the injured list with shoulder inflammation earlier this season, today’s decision is unrelated. Indeed, this looks to be in hopes of preventing injury, rather than reacting to one.
Mize finishes his first full professional season with 109 2/3 innings under his belt between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. After breezing through the low minors and earning himself a promotion to Double-A—where he threw a no-hitter in his first game—Mize has encountered some difficulty of late, possibly as a consequence of a building workload. While the Tigers weren’t restricting their crown jewel to a definitive innings limit, Beck notes that Tigers officials felt that, in recent viewings, Mize wasn’t as sharp as he had been throughout the year, leading them to shut the righty down for the final two weeks of the minor-league season.
Last season, in his draft year, Mize accumulated nearly 130 innings pitched between his time at Auburn University and a partial season in the low minors.
In his first full season as a professional, Mize made 21 starts, going 8-3 with a 2.55 ERA across two levels of the minors. He struck out 106 batters compared to just 23 walks, good for for a 4.6 K:BB ratio.
The 2018 first overall pick is regarded by many to be the top pitching prospect in all of baseball, including MLB Pipeline, which regards Mize as the second-ranked overall prospect. Already a relatively polished product, it seems like a solid bet that Mize could be pitching in Comerica Park at this time next year.