Nearly two years after being battery mates as members of the Wareham Gatemen, Casey Mize and Joey Bart are set to reach the climax of their collegiate careers.
Mize and Bart are both expected to hear their names called early in Monday night’s Major League Baseball draft. Mize, a right-hander out of Auburn, is projected
as the number one overall pick. Bart, a catcher out of Georgia Tech, is expected to fall somewhere in the top five with Baseball America currently slotting him as the second projected overall pick to the San Francisco Giants.
All spring long scouts have raved about Mize’s ability to translate his talents to a major league mound. A Golden Spikes Award semi-finalist, Mize is currently 9-5 with a 3.07 ERA. Over 102.2 innings he has struck out 140 hitters while walking just 10.
Mize credits his time with Gatemen pitching coach Jim Lawler in the summer of 2016 as a huge factor in his collegiate success.
“That first summer was a huge difference. Working with coach Lawler on pitching out of the stretch is something that we really honed in on because my delivery out of the stretch needed a lot of work,” said Mize. “We refined the slider a little bit. My velocity was good up there and I just started noticing that I was hanging in there with the best hitters in the country.”
The Yellow Jackets catcher, also a Golden Spikes Award semi-finalist, has enamored evaluators with his ability to hit for power to all fields and his arm from behind the plate. For the 2018 NCAA season, Bart hit .359 with 16 home runs and 38 RBIs. He caught 12 of 33 runners trying to steal.
Two summers ago as a member of the Gatemen, Bart was named to the Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game. Over 30 games with the Gatemen, he hit .309 with two home runs and 21 RBIs.
“You could see the ball fly off Bart’s bat right away,” said Gatemen coach Don Sneedon. “He had a terrific arm. The only question was his ability to command a game from behind the plate and he has really developed that skill over the last few years.”
To this day Mize and Bart remain close friends. Mize threw to Bart for a total of eight innings while the two were with the Gatemen, allowing no runs on five hits while striking out eight.
“We still talk a ton,” said Mize. “We have a group message with Gunner Leger. Those conversations have been really cool. We talk about our meetings with teams, so the potential for us to go back-to-back in the draft would be incredible.”
Mize, however, notes that is not a competition.
“Joey is such a good dude, he really loves the game,” said Mize. “I am hoping the best for him. We’re really pulling for each other.”
Joining Mize and Bart as former 2016 Gatemen that are expected to hear their names called next week are left-hander Nick Sprengel and Michigan outfielder Jonathan Engelmann.
Sprengel, out of the University of San Diego, had a terrific summer while playing for the Gatemen showcasing terrific movement on his fastball to go with a late breaking slider. Over the course of 20.2 innings, he struck out 22 hitters en route to a 3-0 record. This past year with the Diego Torero’s, Sprengel totaled 51 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.
Engelmann had a breakout junior campaign for the Wolverines. In 54 games he hit to the tune of a .351/.431/.952 slash line with six home runs and 44 RBIs. Also known for his speed, Engelmann finished the season with 21 stolen bases.