In 2015, Mize graduated from Springville High School in Alabama
Casey was off to Auburn University, where he had a team-best ERA of 3.52 in 2016 as a freshman.
Mize won 8 games as a sophomore in 2017, recording the third best ERA in the Southeastern Conference (2.04). In 83.2 innings pitched. He totaled 109 strikeouts and walked just nine batters. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (12.1-to-1) was the best in the nation.
March 9, 2018: Casey threw a no-hitter against Northeastern on March 9 and followed that up the next week with 13 strikeouts in a victory against Texas A&M to open Southeastern Conference play. By then, he had become a leading contender to be the top pick in the draft.
Casey eats a banana before he pitches.
June 2018: Casey was the Tigers #1 pick (#1 overall). He signed for $7.5 million via scout Justin Henry.
Mize received a signing bonus around $7.5 million, MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis confirmed. It's lower than the $8,096,300 slot value assigned to the top overall pick, but it is a record bonus for a draft pick in the pool bonus era, and it is tied for the second-largest bonus overall behind Gerrit Cole's $8 million bonus to sign out of UCLA in 2011.
The Tigers selected the Auburn righthander with the No
The Tigers selected the Auburn righthander with the No. 1 overall pick on June 4. A deal had been expected, and it became imminent once Mize was spotted at Comerica Park and worked out on the field with the team prior to batting practice. "I was a little nervous to even go play catch," Mize said, "but it was really cool to even be out there on the field and interacting with some of the players. I felt a part of it a little bit, which was an awesome feeling. Even stepping in the dugout and just seeing the stadium, it was really cool. It's something I obviously hope happens a lot more, but it was the first time, so it was special."
Mize joined 2009 top pick Stephen Strasburg as players to go undrafted out of high school before becoming the top overall pick out of college. Mize tossed a no-hitter against Northeastern in March, propelling him toward a season worthy of his billing. The right-hander went 10-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 17 starts, striking out 156 batters over 114.2 innings with 84 hits allowed. Just as impressive, he surrendered just 16 walks.
"I got to see him come in as a freshman at Auburn," Tigers amateur scout Justin Henry said, "and seeing him in the college seasons and the Cape Cod League, how much better he got in three years was very impressive. But I think the most impressive thing was sitting down and speaking to him and getting to know him and hearing how he goes about his business. It was a different meeting than most of the meetings I have with players." Said Tigers scouting director Scott Pleis: "He checked all the boxes—physically, mentally, makeup, work ethic, all that stuff, along with the talent to do what he does on the field."
Mize's college career ended in the NCAA Super Regional. Fittingly, after a few days vacationing with his family and girlfriend, he resumed working out in anticipation of his pro career. "I got a few days of downtime and then I got pretty bored," Mize said.
Where that pro career will begin remains to be seen. Mize will work out in Lakeland, Fla., at the Tigers' Spring Training facility, but the club is still working out where and when he'll pitch. "We're going to put down a plan together," Pleis said. "We pretty much know what we're going to do, but we're going to figure out how many innings, when he's going to do it. All that stuff's going to be mapped out." (J Beck - MLB.com - June 25, 2018)
Nov. 11, 2018: Mize and his girlfriend, Tali Milde, posted on social media photos of Mize proposing to Milde.
In 2019, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Mize as the #1 prospect in the Tigers' organization. He was #1 again a year later, early in 2020.
Casey's intangibles play a major role for the righty, and Tigers coaches love his approach to the game and ability to compete. Mize is a front of the rotation starter.
Dec 19, 2018: Give Casey Mize credit: He isn't taking anything for granted. And he isn't predicting anything about a fast track to the Tigers' pitching staff. Mize, who is ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, isn't even sure if he'll be in Major League camp this Spring Training. But when the gifted right-hander decided to use part of his record signing bonus to splurge on a new set of wheels, he went with something local, and he avoided any temptation for a flashy sports car.
"I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee about a month ago, so that was my big item," Mize said earlier this month during an autograph appearance at Comerica Park. "High-rolling. It's got all the heated seats and stuff, and it's awesome, man, compared to my '06 Tacoma. It's everything I want."
At least for now, Mize does not have the auto collection of the last highly-drafted Tigers pitcher, Justin Verlander. If anything, Mize is more like former Tiger Nate Robertson, who ran his old pickup truck into the ground before buying a new one several years into his big league career. The old Tacoma, Mize admitted, was nearing the end, closing in on 200,000 miles and looking ragged, even for a college student. "Yeah, AC was out, had a hole in the exhaust pipe, windshield was cracked, a couple blinkers were out," the former Auburn University pitcher said. "It's all fixable stuff, but you can tell the car's on the downslide."
The truck is staying in the family as a hauler, Mize said. He'll drive the Grand Cherokee around his home just outside Nashville. But he isn't assuming anything about when he'll be able to point it towards Detroit and take off. Asked if he has any goals for his first full professional season, Mize kept it simple.
"Not any destination goals or anything like that," he said. "I think it's just more personal, just having a long, healthy season that I'm satisfied with. I think that would be my goal."
A full, healthy season would probably make the Tigers happy as well. Though team officials didn't shut him down for the summer like they did a year earlier with first-round pick Alex Faedo, the club limited Mize's work to five starts between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Class A Advanced Lakeland, covering 13.2 innings. The results—six runs on 13 hits, two home runs, three walks and 14 strikeouts—weren't as important as the experience. Mize picked up just enough workload to realize what he's in for when he joins a rotation at one of the Tigers' Minor League affiliates in 2019.
"Even if it was a small sample size, I can just kind of have the confidence that I've done it before and I kind of know what to expect," Mize said. "Obviously, I don't know what a full season entails yet or Spring Training, things like that. That'll all be new. But just to say that I've pitched professionally and kind of know what to expect makes it a little bit better."
Mize is also getting an idea of what to expect from fellow players with whom he works out. One reason he decided to make his offseason home near Nashville was to train at a facility his agents set up. Mize is training with 8-10 other players, he said, and picking their brain. Most of the work so far has centered on strengthening, which Mize said has raised his weight to 225 pounds while lowering his body fat. But the talk has focused on baseball.
"They've done it before," Mize said. "I'm just picking their brain. What's big-league camp like, if that's a possibility? What's the big leagues like? What's Triple-A like? Just kind of what's this league like, just talking about certain things. I think it's just all beneficial. The more information you can get, it's going to help you get through it a little bit smoother. I think that's the biggest benefit."
Wherever Mize ends up opening next season, he wants to be prepared. But the only firm planning he's doing for 2019 is for his wedding. Mize proposed last month to his girlfriend, Tali Milde. She's completing her senior year at Auburn, so he has planning duties for now until Spring Training opens.
"I've actually been doing [a lot]. We're getting married in Tennessee, so I've been having to go see some venues on my own," he said. "Actually, the venue we're getting married at, she hasn't even seen it in person. I just went and saw it and she said this is the one." (J Beck - MLB.com - Dec 21, 2018)
Feb 12, 2019: Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris wrapped up their throwing sessions quickly. Relief prospect Zac Houston was done soon after. By the middle of the morning, seven of the eight bullpen mounds on the back fields at Tigertown were empty.
The one mound that still had a pitcher on it had an audience. As Casey Mize threw, pitching coach Rick Anderson stood just over his right shoulder, watching as intently as the slow-motion camera positioned behind the Tigers' top prospect. The catchers who weren't receiving his pitches stopped to watch last year's No. 1 Draft pick before heading to batting practice. It was the first of many crowds the Tigers hope Mize draws for them.
"He was good," Anderson said afterward. "He was fun to watch."
Eight months after Detroit selected him with the top pick in the MLB Draft, Mize is in big league camp for Spring Training as a non-roster invite so he can observe Major League pitchers and the routines they build to prepare for the season. With his talent, though, he has many big leaguers observing him. As thrilling as that might have been, Mize said he is looking forward to the moment a Major League hitter steps into the box, staring back at him.
"I was thinking about that the other day," Mize said. "It's going to be really cool. It doesn't matter to me if it's Spring Training or not. It'll be the first time for me. I'm extremely excited for that. It'll be a lot of fun. Can't wait."
The sight of Mize in a big league camp for the first Spring Training of his pro career, was the product of a long time of planning after he joined the organization last summer. The Tigers gave him just enough innings in Class A ball in July and August to get a taste, then shut him down. From there, Mize started on a plan to get ready for the spring. He worked out at a facility near his offseason home just outside Nashville, Tenn., with several other pro players who share the same agent, the Bledsoe brothers.
"We had a plan early in the fall, right after the season ended," Mize said. "We stuck pretty good to that, and so things lined up pretty well."
He reported to Spring Training this week having already thrown a few mound sessions, so he could work on pitching rather than simply building up his arm. Once he arrived in Lakeland, the work continued. As much as the bullpen session impressed Anderson, what the longtime coach has seen from Mize off the mound has left a bigger first impression.
"You come in early, and he's one of the first ones here," Anderson said. "He's working his butt off. [Monday] I called him over and talked to him about things and I said, 'You're going to lead by example by what you do here.' "You watch him work, and he gets after it. He's focused and driven. And then to get to see him throw on a mound is an even bigger bonus. I'm sure he's got the butterflies going a little bit with his first camp, and a big league camp. But he's one of the first ones in and he's working his butt off every day. I like to see that."
Mize has been more focused on seeing what others do.
"I'm really excited just to get the opportunity to be out here and learn from these guys," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing for me; to just pick their brains and watch how they go about their business and pick up on some things they do that I like. These guys are playing at the highest level, and that's the goal for me. They're kind of showing me how it's done, really, so I'm going to pay attention to them."
So far, the only sign of nerves that Mize has let on might be the speed at which he was talking as he answered questions from reporters. His youth, beyond the fresh face, might be more evident in the 21-year-old's ability to embrace the new technology that is increasingly present around camp this spring. When he made a tweak to his slider this offseason, he worked with it in front of advanced cameras to figure out the spin efficiency.
"It's very interesting," he said. "I mean, honestly, I think it's the most efficient way of pitch design, to develop a pitch. The numbers are right there in front of you. You can see the flight of the ball, the path of the ball, to know how it's playing off your other pitches.
"We have these slow-motion cameras where I can see the last thing the ball touches in my hand. I can see so much spin. I can see the way the ball kicks out of my hand, the rotation and things like that. Spin axis and efficiency is stuff I've kind of really bought into, because it's just better pitches. When you figure that stuff out, they really are. These guys that have really good breaking balls, really good fastballs, you start looking at the numbers and it makes sense why. They don't lie."
As the Tigers rebuild not only their farm system but their player development to the new age, Mize has a chance to become the face of it. He'll still get an opportunity to test out his pitches the old-fashioned way, seeing how big league hitters to react to them this spring. How many outings he makes before heading to Minor League camp isn't clear yet.
"It'll be fun with him. We'll work him in some games," Anderson said.
From there, Mize will be off to one of the Minor League stops. For all the buildup to what Lakeland would be like for him for the next few weeks, the SEC product has also prepared himself for the potential of April weather in Erie, Pa.
"They haven't told me [what it's like]," Mize said with a smile, "but some players have, so I think I have a grasp on that. That'll be new to me." (J Beck - MLB.com - Feb 12, 2019)
Casey certainly knows how to make a first impression. After dominating through four starts with Class A Advanced Lakeland, the Tigers’ No. 1 prospect (No. 16 in MLB) was promoted and promptly threw a no-hitter in his debut with Double-A Erie.
"I feel great," Mize said. "It was definitely one of those days where it felt like autopilot."
Mize led the SeaWolves to a 1-0 win over the Altoona Curve (Pirates) at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pa. "He came out on all cylinders, man," Jake Rogers, the catcher, said. "Ever since the first inning he came out and he was getting guys out, making guys kind of look silly. Ever since then I knew if we just attacked them, something special was going to happen." (Boor - mlb.com - 4/29/19)
August 21, 2019: Casey’s first full professional season is over. The Tigers have decided to shut him down with just under two weeks left in the season for Double-A Erie. “We've made the decision after review and talking to Casey that we're going to skip his next three starts to end the season,” Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said.
The decision was not medical, Littlefield said. He’ll stay with the SeaWolves for the stretch run of their playoff drive and is expected to take part in the Tigers’ instructional league when it begins on Sept. 13, 2019. Mize will be cleared to have a normal offseason workout program from there.
Nor was Mize reaching a hard innings limit; his four-week stint on the injured list earlier this summer for shoulder inflammation eased his workload. But after Mize’s recent performances, including six runs over 4 2/3 innings on Aug. 11 at New Hampshire and a recent taxing sixth inning against Akron, Tigers officials met and decided not to push their prized right-hander any further. (Beck - mlb.com)
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire is becoming stronger in his praise for Tiger's top prospect Casey Mize. It’s becoming clear, if it wasn’t already, that he likes the talent.
“I’d like to have him right now,” Gardenhire said from Summer Camp 2020, “but we know the protocol. We know what we’re trying to do here, step by step. But I just think he’s very poised, he knows what he needs to do and wants to do, and it’s fun watching him pitch. He’s in control, and he has a great plan on what he needs to do to be successful. He’s moving really quick. For me, it can’t be quick enough. I like him a lot.”
These comments are even stronger than the ones Gardenhire made about Mize during Spring Training. And the way Mize has approached Summer Camp, and the work he put in during baseball’s shutdown, have been noticed. (Beck - mlb.com - 7/15/2020)
The frustrated grimace Casey wore on his way off the mound reflected his disappointment over a two-run lead that vanished. He might have been the only person connected to the Tigers with that face. Fortunately, it was temporary.
“I'm not going to lie to you: I had a blast out there,” Mize admitted afterward. “That's the most fun I had playing baseball, ever.”
As frustrating as the Tigers’ eighth consecutive loss proved to be in a 5-3 defeat to the White Sox, the enthusiasm not only was understandable, it was shared. This was the moment Tigers fans and personnel had anticipated ever since Detroit drafted Mize first overall in 2018. This was the moment Mize had been working toward his entire life.
Mize didn’t get a decision, but his 4 1/3 innings left an indelible impression on the Detroit sports scene as well as the record books. Never had a Tigers starter struck out seven or more batters without a walk in his Major League debut. Mize’s splitter, which he deployed on Yoán Moncada for his first Major League strikeout on his second big league batter, became a highlight pitch. And Tigers fans found a must-watch pitcher.
“We all know that the kid's a really special talent,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He's going to take a few bumps here and there. He didn't really have much of a bump tonight.”
Asked a day earlier what he expected of himself, Mize said he expected to give his team a chance to win like always, but that he also expected to have a lot of fun. The former Auburn standout kept up his end of a pitching duel with former SEC rival Dane Dunning. Later, José Abreu and Edwin Encarnación homered off of Gregory Soto in the eighth to break a 3-3 tie.
After the game, Casey sent out the following on Instagram: "Dream come true
After the game, Casey sent out the following on Instagram: "Dream come true. Blessed to be where I am, but motivated to be better and achieve greater things!"
“I was really thankful for the opportunity to be back out there and just try to compete for something. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that,” said Mize, who hadn’t pitched in a regular-season game in a year and two days since his final start at Double-A Erie in 2019. “And it's also just where I wanted to compete at the highest level since I was a kid. So all those things, it just made it so much fun. And pitching well early on just obviously helped that. So I really did have a blast, and I competed my tail off. And obviously not happy with the total outcome, but I did some things really well tonight that I'm going to build on and continue to do that.” (Beck - mlb.com - 8/19/2020)
MLB debut (Aug.19, 2020): Casey Mize and Dane Dunning made modern baseball history in their head-to-head MLB debut matchup.
Mize and Dunning both struck out seven in their first career start, with Mize pitching for the Tigers and Dunning for the White Sox during a 5-3 win for Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field. It's the first time since at least 1901 that two pitchers making their MLB debut in the same game each recorded seven strikeouts. (By David Adler)
He allowed three runs in a 4 1/3-inning no-decision while becoming the first Tiger ever to strike out seven batters without a walk in his first big league outing
He allowed three runs in a 4 1/3-inning no-decision while becoming the first Tiger ever to strike out seven batters without a walk in his first big league outing. No pitcher had done that since another former No. 1 overall pick, Stephen Strasburg, in June 2010.