The first week of June in 2015 was a very quiet time in the Mize household. Young Casey had signed with his favorite school, Auburn, to be a pitcher for the Tigers but quietly hoped to at least get drafted in the MLB draft. Sure, he was going to go to Auburn but to hear his name called would at least be a nice feather in the cap as he headed off to school. The rounds came and went without his name being called. Fast forward to a room filled with Mize, his family, friends, coaches and teammates in the Auburn Athletic Complex as they waited to hear which team would be lucky enough to have Casey as their newest pitching prospect. They didn’t have to wait long, because the undrafted kid from Springville, AL was the #1 overall pick of the draft by the Detroit Tigers.
“I was very glad to have my family here, but my teammates as well. I wanted them to be a part of it because they are such a big part of it. They helped me through this year. It was a tough one,” said Mize. Casey has been on a two year tear as a starter that led him to last night. In 2017, Mize had a team best 2.04 ERA and was 8-2 on the year with 109 Ks to just 9 walks. He capped last season with a performance for the ages as he went complete game, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits with 12 Ks and and walk of Tennessee Tech in the Tallahassee Regional to send Auburn to the Regional Championship game. This season, Mize’s numbers have dipped a touch to a 2.95 ERA with a 10-5 record but his strikeout to walk ratio is even more astounding at 151 Ks to just 12 walks on the season. 12 walks in 395 batters faced, and two of those walks came this weekend against Army.
Mize made history as he is now the highest taken Auburn player in the MLB draft, replacing Gregg Olsen who was taken 4th overall by Baltimore in the ’88 Draft, however Mize is doing to do all he can to make sure he isn’t finished making history as he and the Tigers turn their attention to the Super Regionals and the Florida Gators. “It’s going to make it easier to focus,” said Mize. “This is a great moment, but it’s a big relief too. I’m excited to go out and put this behind me a little bit, and just focus on what we’re trying to do for the Super Regional. I as waiting on this day for a long time, and now that it’s finally here, we can move forward. We’ve got a lot of ball to play so I need to be focused.”
Mize and the Tigers take on #1 overall seed Florida this Saturday in Gainesville at 11 AM on ESPN.