Mize threw 109 1⁄3 innings across two minor league levels this year, most of them far too dominant for his minor league competition. He kicked off the year with a 0.35 ERA across four starts in High-A Lakeland, and was quickly promoted to Double-A Erie. Things didn’t get much better for opposing hitters from there, as Mize threw a no-hitter in his first Double-A start, and limited them to a 1.21 ERA and a .504 OPS in nine outings.
There was some adversity along the way, however, as Mize missed a month of action in late June and early July with shoulder inflammation. He struggled a bit upon returning, allowing six runs (five earned) in his first start with Erie after coming off the injured list. Opponents tagged him for six runs twice more across his next four starts before Wednesday’s decision to shut him down.
The Tigers front office said the decision was not medical, and that Mize did not reach a hard innings limit (he threw more innings with Auburn last year). However, as Beck noted, Mize did not seem the same in his most recent outing as he had earlier in the season.
While Mize delivered a quality start on Saturday, his fastball topped out at 94 mph on the stadium radar gun. He was taxed for 24 pitches in his final inning, including back-to-back two-out walks in which he just missed on a pair of 3-2 pitches he believed were in spots that were called strikes earlier in the game. Mize finished the inning when left fielder Cam Gibson threw out a runner at the plate.
“I’ve felt pretty fresh,” Mize said after the outing. “I felt really good throughout the whole year. Maybe that time off was a reason for that. I’ve felt good coming back.”
The opinion of some scouts in attendance was that Mize was good, but not as crisp as he was earlier in the year.
But before you panic, realize that Mize is not quite done pitching. He won’t make any more starts for Erie, but will stay with the team during their playoff run, then head to instructional leagues. The Double-A regular season concludes on Monday, September 2, with playoffs running for the next couple weeks after that; the Eastern League playoffs consist of just two rounds of best-to-five series.
Mize is now the second prospect to be shut down in the past week. Righthander Beau Burrows suffered an oblique injury with the Toledo Mud Hens during their last road trip, and will not pitch over the final two weeks of the minor league season. He is not expected to be healthy in time for instructs or the Arizona Fall League.
Casey Mize is second Tigers pitching prospect to be shut down for the season recently, joining Beau Burrows. According to Dave Littlefield, Burrows' oblique injury is "fairly significant" and will take time to get back to normal, ruling him out of instrux and AZ Fall League.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 21, 2019