What Detroit Tigers’ Casey Mize thinks about new manager AJ Hinch

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Tigers right-hander Casey Mize made his MLB debut in the 2020 season with Ron Gardenhire as his manager and Rick Anderson as his pitching coach.

Entering 2021, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft — ranked as the team’s No. 2 prospect by MLB Pipeline — gets to develop under a new regime: manager AJ Hinch, pitching coach Chris Fetter and assistant pitching coach Juan Nieves.

After Hinch was hired Oct. 30, he reached out to the 23-year-old with a phone call. Hinch said he watched a few of Mize’s seven starts in his first major league season and kept up with the Tigers as much as possible.

“I think he’s going to bring a lot to us, just a winning mentality,” Mize said in an interview with Fox Sports Detroit posted Monday. “I saw an interview where he said the mindset is just to win every game, every day. Just win today. I really liked that. I think he’s going to change the culture in that way, which I really value.”

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Mize made his debut Aug. 19 on the road against the Chicago White Sox, after spending the beginning of the season at the alternate training site in Toledo. He ended the year with a disappointing 6.99 ERA and 1.482 WHIP in 28⅓ innings. He had 26 strikeouts and 13 walks.

His best performance came Sept. 11 vs. the White Sox, when he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He started the inning by walking a batter, giving up a double and getting a groundout (allowing one run to score). That’s when Gardenhire pulled him after 76 pitches.

[ Casey Mize’s bright Tigers future remains intact despite struggles ]

“Definitely went through some really tough times, some difficult things,” Mize said about last season. “Also, I guess, one of the best moments of my life. Kind of the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Definitely one I’ll look back on years from now like, ‘Wow, what a crazy year.’ Overall, I can’t complain.”

In 2019, Mize had a 2.55 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 106 strikeouts and 23 walks in 109⅓ innings, pitching for High-A Lakeland (six games) and Double-A Erie (15 games). 

He was one of 10 Tigers to make MLB debuts in 2020, and is expected to open the 2021 season in the starting rotation.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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