The many comparisons between Casey Mize and Justin Verlander are understandable, but not necessarily valid.
In truth, they are two very different pitchers in regard to style.
While there is a possibility Mize will some day be a top-of-the-rotation MLB starter, odds are very much against him being one of the 30 best pitchers of all time – where Verlander sits on the WAR list.
The average MLB fastball when Verlander was drafted in 2004 was roughly 90 mph. It has risen to 93. Verlander hit the high 90s consistently and would touch triple digits. It made JV a bonafide outlier.
Mize’s four-seam fastball has averaged 94.2 mph in his two MLB starts.
Mize has a good fastball, but not with a high spin rate. He doesn’t have a margin for error where he can pierce the heart of the strike zone with it.
It’s not like when Verlander’s catcher throws down one finger, JV unloads and everything is OK again.
Verlander threw a traditional changeup, and refined it rather quickly in his career. He has adjusted his breaking balls effectively.
Mize’s celebrated split-finger pitch is a genuine weapon, but it’s only truly special if his other pitches are working reasonably well.
Mize’s splitter is supposed to be an out pitch, but he has thrown it more than any other offering so far, negating its effectiveness.
Mize’s breaking balls have lacked depth and location in his first two MLB starts. Both home runs have been hit off breaking pitches.
He has been hesitant throw breaking balls to left-handed hitters, and has overused them vs. right-handed hitters, who are diving over the plate because Mize has not thrown his fastball enough inside.
One comparison between Verlander and Mize fits. They both struggled in their first two MLB starts.
Expect Mize to grow from it. These outings are a necessary part of his development.
Because if Mize and the Tigers didn’t know what he has to work on, they certainly do now.