Casey Mize and Matt Manning, 2020 Fantasy Outlook

Don’t think I’ve ever done a joint post before like this, which is not to say I’m smoking a joint while I write this. Brucely, that’s every post if that’s what we’re talking about. When I say I’m cashed out, I’m not talking about being negative on my bank account. Okay, I’m talking about that too. Casey Mize and Matt Manning go together like peanut butter and your dog staring at you with a look like, “Yo, Cousin Ownerpants, give me some of that shizz.” Casey Mize and Matt Manning go together like Casey Mize and me thinking of Tyra Banks telling someone to smize. Casey Mize and Matt Manning go together like a ladder and Jose Altuve’s kitchen. Is it just me or do you also imagine Jose Altuve’s house is like a mid-century library with ladders sliding along the walls to get cereal and drinking goblets? Altuve 1000% drinks from a goblet; don’t even try to tell me different. Any hoo! The 22-year-old Casey Mize and the 22-year-old-in-January Matt Manning are both in the Tigers’ minor league system, said Mr. Obvious. The Tigers took Mize 1st overall in the 2018 draft; Manning went 9th overall in 2016. Both have the pedigrees of potential aces, so how long until the Tigers trade them to other teams so they can win Cy Youngs? I kid, I kid! (I don’t kid; this is deathly serious.) So, what can we expect from Casey Mize and Matt Manning for 2020 fantasy baseball?

In June, Casey Mize hit the minor league IL with shoulder inflammation. He was sent to see Dr. James Andrews, and became the 1st pitcher ever to see Dr. James Andrews and not come away with a 12-14 month setback. It’s not great, either way. Pitching prospects are the gift that keep on giving and that gift is devastating injuries. Mize returned about six weeks later, but didn’t look nearly as effective. His final Double-A numbers were 78 2/3 IP, 8.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 2.98 FIP. Can’t lie, that injury worries me and I’m afraid of ghosts and that Mize might need some major surgery before resting for 18 months and then returning to being an ace when he’s 24 years old. Specifics on his stuff:  double-plus splitter with a plus heater, slider, and control. It’s all purdy, and will purdify our fantasy teams if he’s healthy, but call me a worriwort because I’m worried and take St John’s wort.

Next up, Matt Manning in Double-A went 133 2/3 IP, 10 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 2.53 FIP. Honestly, I think Manning’s numbers look better than Mize’s because Manning was healthy. Casey Mize is above Matt Manning for long-term potential; Matt Manning could see 2020 MLB action sooner. That’s getting information out of the way upfront after a bunch of stuff that was up in front of the upfront — upfronter? Bringing this back to one of the alluded to pitchers the Tigers traded away who became a Cy Younger, Rick Porcello was called up crazy fast, and thrown to the wolves (Tigers, I guess in this case), and Mize and Manning are already more polished, so putting our fingers on when Mize and Manning appear in the majors isn’t easy. Could be as soon as Opening Day to September. Honestly, I have no idea. I’m going to hedge like a great landscape architect and say June for both. It’s merely a guess. The guess is coming from the assumption that they both start in Triple-A this year, and breeze through for two months and the cries for them to get promoted become untenable by June. If I was being aggressive, I’d say Manning sees MLB time in April and, if I were being pessimistic, I’d say Mize gets shut down and we don’t see him at all this year in MLB. For 2020, I’ll give Casey Mize projections of 3-4/3.44/1.16/71 in 68 IP; Matt Manning projections 5-2/3.86/1.27/97 in 88 IP, and, for just 2020, I’m going to be a little more interested in Manning.

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