Jared Mitchell’s injury during spring training last year was devastating. After missing the entire season, he got back on the field in the Arizona Fall League and is currently manning centerfield for Winston-Salem. Time to check in on his early results and see how he is progressing.
We don’t know how Mitchell’s speed was affected by the injury, but it appears he’s not quite back to where he was. That was his best asset when drafted, but it hasn’t translated into stolen bases as a pro yet. He went 5/8 in 34 games with Kannapolis in 2009 and is just 2/5 so far this year. Maybe the Sox don’t want to test his speed right now, but it’s at least a minor concern at this point.
Outside of his speed, Mitchell was supposed to be a raw talent and so far we’re seeing that on the field. Of course, Mitchell is a somewhat raw player that is coming off an injury and is still playing at the highest level of his career. That context gives him a pass for at least the first half of this season. That said, onto the numbers…
7 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR (.170 ISO)
6 BB, 35 K in 100 AB
Two things stand out to me there: strike outs and power. Mitchell is striking out WAY too much, but is hitting for a decent amount of power. For a leadoff type hitter Mitchell is showing some pop. He’s got to work on his plate discipline because he’s also not walking enough. It’s practically impossible to hit for a high average when you’re striking out 35% of the time.
It’s far too early to hit the panic button, but with the White Sox off to a dreadful start it’s easy to be pessimistic now. Mitchell still has the tools to be a productive Major Leaguer and his injury last spring was a major blow. Let’s hope he can show his top flight speed and settle into the Carolina League.