The season is hardly a month old, and Casey Mize already has three weekly honors to his name.After dominating the Florida State League over his first four starts of 2019, the top Tigers prospect earned a promotion to Double-A in his first full season. He wasted no time making his mark
The season is hardly a month old, and Casey Mize already has three weekly honors to his name.
After dominating the Florida State League over his first four starts of 2019, the top Tigers prospect earned a promotion to Double-A in his first full season. He wasted no time making his mark and was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week on Monday afternoon.
The top pick in the 2018 Draft, Mize joined Erie on April 25 and promptly made history -- tossing a nine-inning no-hitter in his Eastern League debut. He admitted to some nerves early on, though it certainly was not evident as the right-hander faced one batter over the minimum and fanned seven.
"The fastball command was not good. The worst it's been all year," Mize told reporters after his no-no, the fourth in team history and second in less than a week. "You can go look at the video, it wasn't good. So I threw a ton of cutters and just relied on that, and I just was able to throw that for a strike in a lot of counts. So I think that was kind of the biggest thing. Just trying to get early contact, and you know trying to get them to beat the ball on the ground or any contact to the infield. Being able to mix in the slurve and splitter in on them too, because I tried to make up for that fastball command."
In his next start May 4, there would be no letdown as Mize tossed five more dominant frames, fanning four without walking a batter to cement Eastern League honors. Over his two Double-A starts, he is 2-0 with a spotless 0.00 ERA, 11 strikeouts and one walk in 14 frames.
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"I think he mixed pitches well and executed," SeaWolves pitching coach Mark Johnson told The Show Before The Show podcast last week. "He didn't feel like he had his best fastball command, but he executed his secondary pitches well and kept the hitters guessing the whole time. And he looked like he was in cruise control and just controlled the game and knew what he wanted to do and how to execute."
With the wax on the candles of his 22nd birthday cake still not dry, Mize went out Saturday and extended his scoreless streak to 27 consecutive innings before Bowie scratched out an unearned run. Mize had retired the first eight batters he faced in the game, and recovered from the error by sitting down the final four. He allowed a pair of hits, did not issue a walk and whiffed four over five frames.
The Auburn product has issued two free passes this season (40 innings) and five through his professional career spanning 53 2/3 frames. He tossed five complete games over his three-year college career -- including three last season -- and went the distance in a no-hitter on March 9, 2018 against Northeastern University.
MLB.com's No. 16 overall prospect opened the season with Class A Advanced Lakeland and over four appearances went 2-0 with a 0.35 ERA, 25 punchouts and a walk over 26 innings while holding opponents to a 0.85 average. He has yielded two hits or fewer in five of his six starts this year.
"Every new level there's nerves involved and wanting to get off to a good start," Johnson said on the podcast. "But you just got to remind him that it's the same game. The hitters maybe have a little bit more experience, but if you have your plan and you execute and control the situation, understanding the speed of the game and how to make adjustments, and just go out there and keep doing what you've been doing that got you promoted to here.
"He has confidence in all his pitches and confidence in himself and that stands out on the mound. And in his no-hitter he was able to command his off-speed pitches and execute whatever pitch he decided to throw at that time. He did a good job of executing and working ahead and inviting early contact and making those outs that allows you to pitch deep in the game."
Below is the complete list of Minor League Pitchers of the Week for April April 29-May 5:
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RobTnova24.