2020 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Profiles: Can Casey Mize’s arm hold up to the pressure?


Judged solely on ability, Mize has a case to be the top pitching prospect in baseball. The No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, Mize was dominant in 2019, and is probably ready to pitch at the major-league level — if his arm allows him to.

Numbers to Know

  • Date of Birth: 5/1/1997
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 220 lb
  • Prospect Ranks: No. 13 at Baseball America, No. 7 at MLB Pipeline, No. 12 at Baseball Prospectus
  • Scott White’s Rank: No. 6 Fantasy prospect
  • 2019: (A+, AA) 8-3, 2.55 ERA, 0.942 WHIP, 106 IP, 23 BB, 106 K
  • Career: 8-4, 2.71 ERA, 0.967 WHIP, 123 IP, 26 BB, 120 K

Known Injury History

Shoulder concerns in high school, elbow issues in college, missed a month with shoulder injury in 2019

Strengths

When it comes to the pure stuff, Mize might rank up there with anyone in the prospect ranks. He sports a four-pitch mix highlighted by a fastball he can dial up to the high-90s, along with a slider, splitter and cutter. It’s a true power pitcher’s repertoire. He’s shown no control problems and has done an excellent job keeping the ball in the park. It’s hard to find a flaw in his approach, and even the somewhat underwhelming strikeout rate from 2019 is weighed down by his struggles after coming back from a shoulder injury. Additionally, Mize averaged 6.3 innings per start before the injury, so there really is workhorse potential there.

Concerns

It all comes down to health, and while that’s true of all pitchers, Mize has significantly more red flags than most. The good news is, he’s been able to avoid surgeries to date, though that is surely no guarantee he’ll be able to avoid them in the future. The fact that he’s had recurring issues with his arm at both major joints is a serious concern, as is the fact that he didn’t look like the same guy upon returning from the shoulder issue in 2020. This is scary stuff for a young pitcher.

Outside Take

Healthy 2019 Casey Mize had a strong argument for the best pitching prospect in baseball. He’ll show four plus pitches, and each of the fastball, cutter, slider and split will flash plus-plus at times. … There’s plus command of everything. Every prospect writer on staff that saw Mize preferred a different secondary, which means it could all come together one day as a monster top-of-the-rotation starter.” Jeffrey Paternostro, Baseball Prospectus

Fantasy Comparison

It’s hard not to think of Max Scherzer when you read about Mize’s stuff and approach, and the upside really is as a top-five pitcher in Fantasy. A career like Stephen Strasburg — years as an ace, years as something short of an ace, and totally lost years due to injury — would be a reasonable expectation too. 

Fantasy Bottom Line

There doesn’t seem to be much concern that the stuff will play in the majors, though injuries can obviously sap effectiveness. Mize is a high-risk, high-reward option for players in Dynasty or keeper leagues, and if the injury concerns cause him to slip in drafts, he could be a huge value. He could also flame out. However, it’s also worth considering the possibility that he might end up in the bullpen if he can’t hack it as a starter, and he could be an absolute stud closer, too. There are a lot of ways this could go wrong for Mize, but there’s also a lot of ways he could still be a difference maker in Fantasy. 

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda’s huge breakout last season, and find out.





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