Scout's View: Jared Mitchell
The first three seasons of Jared Mitchell's pro career could hardly have gone worse.
Mitchell played on national championship baseball and football teams at Louisiana State, and his combination of athleticism and potential led the White Sox to select him with the 23rd overall pick of the 2009 draft.
After a successful stint with low Class A Kannapolis after signing in 2009, Mitchell fractured his ankle crashing into an outfield fence during spring training in 2010. He missed the entire 2010 season, and when he returned in 2011 he hit .222/.304/.377 for high Class A Winston-Salem while striking out 183 times in 477 at-bats.
Heading into the 2012 season, Mitchell, 23, had overcome a serious injury and shown a serious problem making contact. The White Sox aggressively promoted him to Double-A Birmingham anyway, and a month into the season, Mitchell was hitting the ball with authority. He was batting .287/.408/.491 with 21 walks and 33 strikeouts in 108 at-bats.
We talked to an American League professional scout to get an opinion on why Mitchell is succeeding in Double-A after struggling in high Class A.
"He still makes some mistakes. He's not a very good baserunner and he's not a center fielder. But I think he can have some pop. The swing's better this year. The plan is better. The approach is better. He's made some plays in the outfield."
The scout said Mitchell is simplly trying to catch up to players who have many more at-bats than he does.
"He's never played summer ball. He's always played football. So then he goes from being drafted to breaking his ankle. He'd never played more than 50 games in a season."
Mitchell may have been drafted in part for his speed, but after the ankle injury the scout sees him as a different kind of player.
"I think he'll be a 26-year-old (big league) rookie who has some power. I don't think he's a speed guy. I think he's a power guy who's a little bit above-average runner. Everyone is thinking Kenny Lofton, but that's not him. It's not even close. That's where the disappointment lies. I think he's a power guy who runs fairly well. I've seen him scorch balls for home runs. It's three or four years away from it clicking, though."