- Full name Mitchell Shane Atkins
- Born 10/01/1985 in Browns Summit, NC
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Northeast Guilford
- Debut 07/29/2009
Drafted in the 7th round (216th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2004 (signed for $149,000).
View Draft ReportAtkins, part of a solid Elon recruiting class, has caught the eye of scouts in a down year for the state's prep class by having the best fastball in the area. Some scouts see a mature high school pitcher, strong and sturdy at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, but others see some projection left. He throws an 88-92 mph fastball from a three-quarters slot that gives him good sink. The arm angle also makes his 77-80 mph breaking ball rather slurvy, and at times he struggles to stay on top of it. His feel for a changeup comes and goes, but teams that like him see him as a power sinker/slider pitcher down the line.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Atkins' makeup is more impressive than his arsenal, but that didn't stop him from winning 17 games--one off the minor league lead--and the Cubs' minor league pitcher of the year award in 2008. His best pitch is an 89-92 mph fastball with average sink; the fastball is most notable for Atkins' ability to locate it. Atkins commands his entire repertoire, which also consists of a cutter, curveball and changeup. His curve has a chance to develop into a solid-average pitch. Atkins has an innate feel for pitching and isn't afraid to let hitters put the ball in play. He has little margin for error and gave up 25 homers last season, but he doesn't let anything faze him. A case in point came Aug. 3 start against Salt Lake. Three of the first four batters hit rockets off Atkins, who then adjusted so well that he retired the final 16 batters he faced, 11 via strikeouts. Strong and durable, he has yet to miss a minor league start. Chicago added him to its 40-man roster over the winter and Atkins will audition for a middle-relief job in big league camp. It wouldn't surprise the Cubs if he eventually carved out a larger role for himself.
Atkins is similar to Scott Taylor, his teammate at Peoria last season. Both are stocky righthanders signed out of high school who have live sinkers and are working on the rest of their game. In his first taste of full-season ball, Atkins led Cubs farmhands in victories and ranked second to Donald Veal in ERA in 2006. He also finished strong, going 7-2, 2.08 over his final 10 regular-season starts before losing a 2-0 heartbreaker in the playoffs. Atkins goes after hitters with a 91-92 mph fastball. His three-quarters delivery gives him sink on his heater but makes it hard for him to stay on top of his slurvy breaking ball. He shows feel for a changeup, though it's not consistently reliable at this point. Because Atkins lacks a second solid pitch and plus command, he may wind up in the bullpen down the road. He'll pitch alongside Taylor again in 2007, this time in the Daytona rotation.