Many Detroit Tigers figured the club had found a winner when they drafted righthander Casey Mize with the first overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, but few could have expected just how quickly his star would rise. Mize was dominant in a handful of innings with High-A Lakeland, then threw a no-hitter in his first start with Double-A Erie. Even after struggling (relatively speaking) in his last outing, Mize’s ERA sits at 0.60 in 45 minor league innings this season.
And now he is the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. Mize is also the first pitcher on their list, trailing just five hitters — many of whom are set to graduate from prospect-dom in the coming weeks.
Here’s what Pipeline had to say in their most recent update:
The 2018 No. 1 overall Draft pick has established himself as baseball’s best pitching prospect a little more than a month into his first full season. With superb command of three plus-or-better pitches, Mize breezed through the Florida State League (0.35 ERA, 0.31 WHIP, 25/1 K/BB), fired a no-hitter in his Double-A Erie debut and owns a 0.60 ERA, 0.42 WHIP and 40/3 K/BB in 45 innings (seven starts) on the season.
That Mize dominated High-A ball isn’t too much of a surprise. The 22-year-old righthander broke out with a monster junior season at Auburn in 2018, holding opponents to a 3.30 ERA with 156 strikeouts to just 16 walks in 114 2⁄3 innings. Coupled with an excellent but injury-shortened sophomore year, Mize finished his Auburn career with a 2.96 ERA and 324 strikeouts in 266 innings.
Perhaps even better than Mize’s newly-minted top 10 ranking is that he could soon find himself in the top five. The top four prospects on Pipeline’s list are currently in the major leagues, and two — San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. (2) and Chicago’s Eloy Jimenez (3) — are close to exhausting their rookie eligibility. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1), Nick Senzel (4), and Wander Franco (5) round out the top five. Should Mize continue to pitch well, he could quickly find himself moving up the list, with an outside shot at landing at No. 1 overall.
The Tigers also saw two other prospects move up the list. Righthander Matt Manning slid into the top 50, moving up from No. 52 to No. 48 in this latest update. Despite not having pitched yet in 2019, Franklin Perez moved from No. 78 to No. 71. Infielder Isaac Paredes also made it onto the list, slotting in at No. 93 overall.