To hear Double-A Erie manager Mike Rabelo tell it, Casey Mize sounds like the dream for any baseball coach."If you were to put together a blueprint on how to be a pro, Casey Mize would be on the cover of that," Rabelo said.
To hear Double-A Erie manager Mike Rabelo tell it, Casey Mize sounds like the dream for any baseball coach.
"If you were to put together a blueprint on how to be a pro, Casey Mize would be on the cover of that," Rabelo said.
The top Tigers prospect dominated again Sunday afternoon, scattering four hits while striking out six over eight frames as the SeaWolves shut out the Baysox, 3-0, at UPMC Park.
Mize (4-0) retired the first eight batters before a two-out single by Chris Clare in the third inning. Walks to Orioles No. 30 prospectMason McCoy and seventh-ranked Ryan McKenna loaded the bases, but MLB.com's sixth overall prospect induced a groundout from Baltimore's No. 5 prospect Austin Hays to end the threat.
"That's where I just try to stay within myself, take some breaths in between pitches and slow the game down because it can get sped up on you pretty quick," Mize told local media after the game. "I just knew I had to make some quality pitches."
McKenna led off the sixth with a single, but was quickly erased when Hays grounded into a double play. That was the last action on the basepaths against the 22-year-old, he sat down the next seven to complete his outing.
"I think my stuff got better as the game went on, so that's definitely a positive sign," Mize told the media. "I would have liked to have it earlier, but I'm lucky that I had it at all."
Gameday box score
The first overall pick in 2018 out of Auburn has thrown 14 straight scoreless innings. On May 20 against Hartford, Mize allowed three hits and struck out six while putting up six zeros.
What makes Mize so difficult for opposing hitters, Rabelo said, is simply his stuff.
"He's got four really good pitches and he commands them all. He can throw them any time he wants," the manager said. "When you do that, golly, you're making a hitter's life tough. He's throwing his splitter, his slider, he's locating his fastball north, south, east, west. He's getting ahead in the count. He field his position well. In the short time I have seen him, he has done everything."
Mize's 0.57 WHIP leads the Eastern League while his 1.40 ERA stands second to Binghamton's Anthony Kay (1.07). Over 64 2/3 innings between Erie and Class A Advanced Lakeland, The Alabama native has allowed just seven earned runs, striking out 60 while holding opponents to a .135 average.
"Numbers aside, this kid gets it," Rabelo said. "He's mature beyond his age. He's very meticulous in everything he does whether he's doing his arm-care prevention stuff, his routine in the bullpen, even when watching tape. This guy is everything you would want from one of your prospects."
Even when Mize isn't at the top of his game, Rabelo is quick to add that the right-hander stays on course, pointing out his line against Altoona on May 10 -- five innings, seven hits, two earned runs -- as evidence.
"He no-hit them earlier," Rabelo said, noting Mize's feat on April 29. "They came out bushwhacking in early counts, a couple of balls found the hole. I wouldn't exactly call it struggling."
The manager is certain big things lie ahead for Mize and his Eastern League stint is just another notch on his belt.
"I know I keep giving you a cliche answer, but he's a pro," Rabelo said. "I say this every time that I talk a writer or reporter, he gets it. He uses the Minor Leagues as a stepping stone to get to the big leagues and he's going to be a front end of the rotation guy. He does everything you ask."
Detroit's No. 19 prospect Bryan Garcia earned the save, striking out two in a perfect ninth.
Jose Azocar -- the club's 30th-ranked prospected -- provided all the offense for the SeaWolves with a three-run homer over the right-field wall in the eighth.
Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz.