Is Casey Mize already the Detroit Tigers’ best starting pitcher?

Mize has made 9 solid starts in a row

Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on June 9, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus, 2021 Getty Images)

DETROIT – It’s been 10 months since Casey Mize got his first call up to the big leagues. Is he already the best starting pitcher on the Detroit Tigers’ roster?

Mize has been a bit of a difficult player to figure out this season. His surface numbers are excellent: a 3.49 ERA, 1.073 WHIP and nine quality starts in 13 outings.

RELATED: Tigers are obvious sellers at trade deadline, but do they have anything to sell?

But when you look under the hood, there are some concerns. Mize is striking out just 7.2 batters per nine innings with a swinging strike rate of 10%. His 4.65 FIP screams “regression.”

Yet, with an elite prospect pedigree in his back pocket, it’s hard not to be excited by the early results.

Mize has been bad exactly twice this season. He allowed five earned runs in five innings on April 17 and six earned runs in 4.2 innings on April 23. His first start of 2021 was short, but he surrendered just one run in four innings -- short, but not “bad.”

MORE: Matt Manning to make MLB debut

Since allowing 13 runs in back-to-back starts, Mize has ripped off the following stretch of nine starts:

  • 6 innings, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts.
  • 6 innings, 1 run, 3 strikeouts.
  • 6 innings, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts.
  • 7.2 innings, 1 run, 7 strikeouts.
  • 6.1 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts.
  • 5 innings, 1 run, 7 strikeouts.
  • 7 innings, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts.
  • 6 innings, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts.
  • 6.2 innings, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts.

Matt Boyd and Spencer Turnbull are the only other candidates for best Tigers starter, but both have been on and off the injured list.

In terms of WAR, Mize’s 2.3 total is much higher than Boyd’s 1.6 or Turnbull’s 1.4.

The team calls Boyd the “ace” of the staff ‚but he’s had more poor starts than Mize, and hasn’t gone deep into games as regularly.

Turnbull has the best overall numbers, but he’s made just nine starts, and only four of those have gone at least six innings.

It’s too early to say with confidence that Mize is the best starter on the team, but it’s not too early to ask the question.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.