Tigers' Casey Mize is MLB Pipeline's No. 2 right-handed pitching prospect

The Detroit News
The Tigers selected right-handed pitcher Casey Mize No. 1 overall in last June's draft.

The Detroit Tigers selected pitcher Casey Mize No. 1 overall in last June's draft. The former Auburn ace isn't wasting any time climbing the prospect rankings.

MLB Pipeline on Tuesday ranked Mize No. 2 on its list of top 10 right-handed pitching prospects for 2019, only trailing Astros prospect Forrest Whitley.

Mize has the highest floor in the top 10, according to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, who says the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder "had the best combination of stuff and polish in the 2018 Draft and the same is arguably true in the Minors. Besides his unhittable splitter, he also throws a 92-97 mph fastball with running life and a plus mid-80s slider that he can transform into a cutter when he wants."

That splitter was tabbed as the best "other pitch" among the top 10 righties by Callis, who also had categories for the best fastball, curve ball, change-up and slider.

After he was taken with the top pick, Mize pitched briefly in the minors before the Tigers opted to shut him down because of an innings limit that included his final season at Auburn. Mize struck out 14 in 13.2 innings, giving up 13 hits and three walks (3.95 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) combined in the rookie Gulf Coast League and high Single A.

Mize debuted at No. 18 in Baseball America's updated top 100 prospects last July, and he's part of a strong collection of arms the Tigers appear to be stockpiling, including recent top draft picks Beau Burrows, Matt Manning, and Alex Faedo, as well as Franklin Perez, who came over from Houston in the Justin Verlander blockbuster trade in 2017.

It's helped provide a jolt to the Tigers' farm system, which in November was ranked No. 8 overall by FanGraphs.