Profile: OF - 5'11" - 200lbs -BT:L - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22
• Hit: 30-45
• Power: 30-45
• Eye: 45-60
• Range: 50-65
• Hands: 55-60
• Arm: 30-40
• Run: 55-65
An impressive two sport athlete in college, Mitchell's teams won the National Championship in both football and baseball during his final year at LSU. As college player he was probably better known for his football than his baseball, but as a professional, it was clear that his future laid in baseball.
The White Sox took him with the 23rd pick of the 2009 draft and after signing him quickly for a 1.2m bonus, aggressively sent him directly to their Kannapolis A-ball affiliate. Mitchell got off to a great start at Kannapolis and was primed for another good season when he tore a tendon on the inside of his left ankle during spring training that required surgery and cost him most of the 2010 season.
Mitchell has a wide stance and doesn't get through the ball as powerfully as I'd expect for someone with his frame. He has good, not great bat speed and though his approach is balanced, his swing has holes all over it. I think there's untapped power in his stout frame but he needs to rotate his hips through the ball better and leverage his swing more and stop hitting so many ground balls - something that's difficult to do when landing so wide. Surprisingly, Mitchell has a very good eye at the plate however and though he'll likely struggle to hit for average, his eye is good enough that he should be able to draw more than 10% walks per season.
Defensively Mitchell has the plus speed to stick in center as he ranges well to balls laterally, and can make the spectacular plays too though still needs work coming in and going back. His arm is a negative and might be poor enough that it necessitates a move to left field, but White Sox coaches are hopeful that with work he can improve his arm enough to stick in center. On the bases he has the ability to be a force with plus speed but just like with his fielding, he needs considerable work to for that tool to translate into a skill.
The two items that immediately jump out to me with Mitchell are the strikeout and walk rates. He great at one, horrible as the other and it speaks volumes about what kind of hitter he projects as. We know that as of right now, Mitchell has little power, and he probably projects to below average power at best. That means he'd need to create offensive value via OBP. In one regard, walk rate, he's great. The 10%+ walk rate he generates will keep him offensively relevant and allow his plus speed to come to bear more often. However, his extremely high strikeout rate means he won't put many balls in play and as a result, will struggle to hit for average. How much he can improve his contact rate is likely to be the determining factor in his overall success as a hitter.
A .250/.330/.400 hitter with plus range in center or left with good speed.
Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.