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Casey Mize: Broken or Funkhouser 2.0?


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55 minutes ago, chasfh said:

the flatness of his four-seamer

I have been a little bit surprised that Hinch is so gung-ho to have guys with flat fastballs pitch up in the zone. Here I *will* make a comparison with Verlander because he provides a great example: When JV had lost his lower body drive, he lost the rise on his fastball and eventually had to to stop throwing high because it was getting hammered, which was a big adjustment for him, and of course he was not as good a pitcher. Even though he was still managing 95 the spin was missing in his compensated delivery. Then after his surgery as he started rounding back into form, it was clear for a time he was still hesitant to go back to using the FB up because he was unsure if he would be able to get guys out with it again. That was one of the things he got back to in the summer before the trade and his effectiveness went way up. Of course throwing the heater up more effectively made the slider - which got a lot of the attention - more effective also. So the point is that if a veteran with the pitching talent of JV who knew how to do it couldn't make throwing the FB up work when he didn't have good vertical rise,  that leaves me with doubt about how much you really want Fulmer and Mize to do it. There are other ways to get guys out - change of speed, deception, sequencing. I'm just not sure every pitcher can or should try to use every tool. OK - sure, try it, but don't wed yourself to it if it's not working.

They drafted Mize for the K/BB ratio. A guy who has the command to move his FB around in the corners doesn't need the high heater swing and miss. If I'm Fetter I think I want to get back the Mize who can spot the ball more than a Mize who can live up high with his FB.

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56 minutes ago, chasfh said:

Posted during the run-up to the 2018 draft, mainly to highlight questions being asked about him even then.

as i wrote at the time, mize was the safe pick that would get no criticism, so that's what avila did. 

unsurprising.

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5 minutes ago, Buddha said:

as i wrote at the time, mize was the safe pick that would get no criticism, so that's what avila did. 

unsurprising.

If they wanted a pitcher the clear alternative in that draft was Singer, who hasn't exactly lit it up either, but is well ahead of Mize at this point.

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2 minutes ago, Buddha said:

as i wrote at the time, mize was the safe pick that would get no criticism, so that's what avila did. 

unsurprising.

Looking back at the draft just now,  I remember hoping they would pick Bohm.  It wasn't because I knew anything, but because I wanted them to pick a hitter.  It seemed like most people who knew what they were talking about said Mize was the best player available.  

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1 minute ago, Gehringer_2 said:

If they wanted a pitcher the clear alternative was Singer, who hasn't exactly lit it up either, but is well ahead of Mize at this point.

they should want the player who is most likely to succeed at the major league level.

that could still be mize, btw.  its not looking so hot now, but its still too early to tell for sure.

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4 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

... They drafted Mize for the K/BB ratio. A guy who has the command to move his FB around in the corners doesn't need the high heater swing and miss. If I'm Fetter I think I want to get back the Mize who can spot the ball more than a Mize who can live up high with his FB.

I don't know why anyone would consider pushing Mize along a Verlander path...

His pathway from the get-go was the Greg Maddux path. And I'm not saying he'll turn into Maddux (well... there's that "hope springs eternal" thing...); but if Mize is a control specialist, then he better learn to paint at the very highest level. Maddux had a decent fastball IIRC... not earth-shattering, but decent. His ace up the sleeve however was absolute command over multiple pitches and the ability to paint any of those pitches anywhere, at any time, at any speed. The team needs to push Mize along this pathway as strictly as possible, IMO.

And we can hope...

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16 minutes ago, 84 Lives!!! said:

I don't know why anyone would consider pushing Mize along a Verlander path...

His pathway from the get-go was the Greg Maddux path. And I'm not saying he'll turn into Maddux (well... there's that "hope springs eternal" thing...); but if Mize is a control specialist, then he better learn to paint at the very highest level. Maddux had a decent fastball IIRC... not earth-shattering, but decent. His ace up the sleeve however was absolute command over multiple pitches and the ability to paint any of those pitches anywhere, at any time, at any speed. The team needs to push Mize along this pathway as strictly as possible, IMO.

And we can hope...

Mize graded out as having a plus fastball, elite splitter and good/plus control. Few pitchers have an elite pitch but Mize also had a 60 grade FB and control. Probably closer to Max Sherzer than Verlander

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20 minutes ago, Stanley70 said:

Mize graded out as having a plus fastball, elite splitter and good/plus control. Few pitchers have an elite pitch but Mize also had a 60 grade FB and control. Probably closer to Max Sherzer than Verlander

IDK - Max's fastball is/was top 10% in baseball, that is a lot for a guy even with a 60 scouting grade to aspire to.

I don't know how they come up with the scouting grades, but there are guys who can make FB  mistakes over the plate and still have a good chance the results will be a pop-up of at worst a warning track fly ball, then there are guys who when they make a mistake over the plate with a FB pay for it big time with high probability. It's mostly, but not only,  about the vertical break they get at a given velo, because the hardest thing for a batter to do is raise his bat once in his swing.

And that goes back to one of the potential problems in the analytics. You need the context. You can observe statistically that a guy has cold blue against fastballs at the top of zone, but that still doesn't tell you enough. If most of the pitchers he is facing are like JV (in the sense of having good V break), he is actually swinging at pitches he *sees* coming at the waist, which then end up where he can't reach. If you don't have the vertical break, the batter *sees* that the pitch is going to be high and can either lay off or start his swing high enough to meet it. Now logic tells you that most pitchers who throw high fastballs do have a good 'rising' FB which is why they use it. So that cold zone for a batter up high may be a statistical reality but still may not be exploitable for a pitcher with a flat fast ball because he is not the pitcher those stats are being created against.

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24 minutes ago, Stanley70 said:

Mize graded out as having a plus fastball, elite splitter and good/plus control. Few pitchers have an elite pitch but Mize also had a 60 grade FB and control. Probably closer to Max Sherzer than Verlander

Mize isn't Max.

His splitter and high-end control and command of multiple pitches were his selling points. His fastball was never anywhere near Max's or JV's.

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11 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

IDK - Max's fastball is/was top 10% in baseball, that is a lot for a guy even with a 60 scouting grade to aspire to.

I don't know how they come up with the scouting grades, but there are guys who can make FB  mistakes over the plate and still have a good chance the results will be a pop-up of at worst a warning track fly ball, then there are guys who when they make a mistake over the plate with a FB pay for it big time with high probability. It's mostly, but not only,  about the vertical break they get at a given velo, because the hardest thing for a batter to do is raise his bat once in his swing.

And that goes back to one of the potential problems in the analytics. You need the context. You can observe statistically that a guy has cold blue against fastballs at the top of zone, but that still doesn't tell you enough. If most of the pitchers he is facing are like JV (in the sense of having good V break), he is actually swinging at pitches he *sees* coming at the waist, which then end up where he can't reach. If you don't have the vertical break, the batter *sees* that the pitch is going to be high and can either lay off or start his swing high enough to meet it. Now logic tells you that most pitchers who throw high fastballs do have a good 'rising' FB which is why they use it. So that cold zone for a batter up high may be a statistical reality but still may not be exploitable for a pitcher with a flat fast ball because he is not the pitcher those stats are being created against.

With all due respect, I don't believe you can stay strategically in two quadrants all the time, and I don't believe you can always attack a hitters strengths, even if they are also your strengths. Hinch is talking fastballs up as a strategic mix, not as a general rule.

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2 minutes ago, Longgone said:

With all due respect, I don't believe you can stay strategically in two quadrants all the time, and I don't believe you can always attack a hitters strengths, even if they are also your strengths. Hinch is talking fastballs up as a strategic mix, not as a general rule.

that is fair enough, but the statistical argument remains. A manager needs to understand that just because a guy hits a buck ten in the top quad on average does *not* necessarily mean he will hit 110 in that quadrant against *your* pitcher.  That 110 is likely the average of failure against a lot of guys but some success against others, and if your guy is one of the others, the strategy will not be as successful as you hope. And you base that judgement on what kind of FB your guy throws. Sure, even a guy with a flat FB who properly avoids going up on a regular basis can benefit just from changing eye level once he has a guy looking low, but that is not the same thing as trying to exploit a batter up high, which implies working him up with more than the occasional pitch.

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10 minutes ago, 84 Lives!!! said:

Mize isn't Max.

His splitter and high-end control and command of multiple pitches were his selling points. His fastball was never anywhere near Max's or JV's.

Mize can hit 97 with his fastball and sits 93-95. The 2019 BA handbook after the draft graded it as a 70 grade pitch, which is elite. It's 2 years later and they grade it a 60 now, and not coincidentally they downgraded his control as well.

Max had issues with control while in Detroit as well and got demoted for a while in like his 3rd year in the bigs. It took him a few years to have the control he has now.

They have similar velocity on the fastball and an elite secondary pitch. Sherzer has ridiculous movement on his while Casey could locate his better. Not exact comps but not too far off, and better than Greg Maddux.

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4 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

that is fair enough, but the statistical argument remains. A manager needs to understand that just because a guy hits a buck ten in the top quad on average does *not* necessarily mean he will hit 110 in that quadrant against *your* pitcher.  That 110 is likely the average of failure against a lot of guys but some success against others, and if your guy is one of the others, the strategy will not be as successful as you hope. And you base that judgement on what kind of FB your guy throws. Sure, even a guy with a flat FB who properly avoids going up on a regular basis can benefit just from changing eye level once he has a guy looking low, but that is not the same thing as trying to exploit a batter up high, which implies working him up with more than the occasional pitch.

And whatever fastball you have, you need to locate. Few guys can just pump fastballs by people.

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19 minutes ago, Stanley68 said:

Mize can hit 97 with his fastball and sits 93-95. The 2019 BA handbook after the draft graded it as a 70 grade pitch, which is elite. It's 2 years later and they grade it a 60 now, and not coincidentally they downgraded his control as well.

Max had issues with control while in Detroit as well and got demoted for a while in like his 3rd year in the bigs. It took him a few years to have the control he has now.

They have similar velocity on the fastball and an elite secondary pitch. Sherzer has ridiculous movement on his while Casey could locate his better. Not exact comps but not too far off, and better than Greg Maddux.

The question I don't know the answer to is how much of that grade is purely velo based, because there is a mile of difference between a flat 99 mph Kyle Farnsworth FB and 95 mph Verlander FB spinning 3K rpm with a 2 foot vertical break (ignoring for the moment that JV could also touch 98+, he never worked there regularly). Which would the higher grade from the old rating system? 

EDIT: Actually a young Norris would be the better case comparison. When he came up he had more spin and V break at 94 than most guys ever get at 98.

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35 minutes ago, Longgone said:

And whatever fastball you have, you need to locate. Few guys can just pump fastballs by people.

right, And for most guys there is some amount of natural evolution. Guys come up with the max velo they will ever have and as time goes by most of them end up gaining more command with the years of reps as their gas usually gets a little cooler - so I think you can also overdo it either way - you can also beat your head a against the wall trying to turn a young pure power guy into a control pitcher before he is ready for it to happen by itself.

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23 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

right, And for most guys there is some amount of natural evolution. Guys come up with the max velo they will ever have and as time goes by most of them end up gaining more command with the years of reps as their gas usually gets a little cooler - so I think you can also overdo it either way - you can also beat you head a against the wall trying to turn a young pure power guy into a control pitcher before he is ready for it to happen by itself.

And a big reason pitchers like Verlander and Sherzer can beat guys upstairs is that hitters fear their offspeed. It all works together and that is what Casey is learning (hopefully).

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37 minutes ago, Stanley68 said:

Mize can hit 97 with his fastball and sits 93-95. The 2019 BA handbook after the draft graded it as a 70 grade pitch, which is elite. It's 2 years later and they grade it a 60 now, and not coincidentally they downgraded his control as well.

Max had issues with control while in Detroit as well and got demoted for a while in like his 3rd year in the bigs. It took him a few years to have the control he has now.

They have similar velocity on the fastball and an elite secondary pitch. Sherzer has ridiculous movement on his while Casey could locate his better. Not exact comps but not too far off, and better than Greg Maddux.

Same speed.. that's it?

I'm not certain why you are so hung up on Max...

You just stated two reasons why Max's FB is NOTHING like Mize's: ridiculous movement... which led to a lot of control issues.

Mize's FB is the EXACT opposite: no movement, and Mize has always had excellent control over his FB. And other pitches.

But you're relying on FB speed to say they're the same?

Max has a splitter? And impeccable control?

I'm sorry, but...

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i dont know nearly enough to comment on this with any degree of certainty (which never stops me, obviously), but it seems like mize doesnt have a pitch that puts hitters away.  that doesnt seem good.

and the arm angle stuff from pedro was a little alarming even if you have to take it with a grain of salt.

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Just now, Longgone said:

And a big reason pitchers like Verlander and Sherzer can beat guys upstairs is that hitters fear their offspeed. It all works together and that is what Casey is learning (hopefully).

yes - certainly true also. FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt), the best friend of pitchers and software giants.

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12 minutes ago, Buddha said:

i dont know nearly enough to comment on this with any degree of certainty (which never stops me, obviously), but it seems like mize doesnt have a pitch that puts hitters away.  that doesnt seem good.

and the arm angle stuff from pedro was a little alarming even if you have to take it with a grain of salt.

The split should be a put away pitch, if he doesn't over use it. That is one of the theories for him to work up high more - it will increases the difficulty of dealing with the split, but you can't cut off your nose to spite your face, if he gets hit going up high then he can't do that that consistently either. Going back to the Maddox comp, Mize may just be a guy who makes his living by never ever throwing the same pitch in the place place, which can be fine. He can easily be a #2 starter or better on that basis. I still wonder if this is all over-reaction by both the fans and the Tigers. He ended up with a lot of time off,  stop telling him to change anything to try and make the team now and just send him to AAA to get a couple hundred innings in and regain his command. If that takes until next season, so be it. 

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14 minutes ago, Buddha said:

i dont know nearly enough to comment on this with any degree of certainty (which never stops me, obviously), but it seems like mize doesnt have a pitch that puts hitters away.  that doesnt seem good.

and the arm angle stuff from pedro was a little alarming even if you have to take it with a grain of salt.

Mize has plenty of stuff. He is not locating right now which is out of character. No one can continually pitch from behind, allow hitters to sit on certain pitches and come into the fat part of the zone and look good, not even Sixto, not in the bigs.

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13 minutes ago, Longgone said:

Mize has plenty of stuff. He is not locating right now which is out of character. No one can continually pitch from behind, allow hitters to sit on certain pitches and come into the fat part of the zone and look good, not even Sixto, not in the bigs.

He’s got good stuff.  

One should have elite stuff to be picked at 1-1.   

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