Moving ahead with our 2017 MLB Draft coverage, we turn our attention again to the high school ranks with a look at Calvin Mitchell, who has one of the more interesting, if enigmatic, bats available on the market.
Calvin Mitchell attends Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California. He stood out as one of the best bats in the prep class for more than a year, impressing scouts with a strong tear through showcases and with Team USA last year. That said, his stock has fluctuated this spring and his status is a bit uncertain at the moment.
Listed at 6-0, 190, Mitchell is a left-handed hitter and thrower born January 8th, 1999. He is committed to the University of San Diego for college.
When he’s right Mitchell looks like one of the best hitters available, with excellent bat speed, 55-60 grade power, and a refined, “controlled aggression” hitting approach that would work against all styles of pitching. He was viewed as a clear first round pick five months ago despite so-so defensive tools because of the high confidence scouts had in his hitting ability.
Although a decent overall athlete, his running speed and arm strength are just average, profiling him as a left fielder. He won’t win gold gloves but his defense is playable if he hits as expected.
Mitchell was expected to destroy high school pitching this spring but that didn’t really happen. He got off to a slow start, losing the feel for hitting he showed last summer with a decline in bat speed and a less patient approach. For example, MLB.com speculated that Mitchell may have been trying to boost his power production, but the result was “a top-hand heavy, pull side approach” which backfired.
He did pull out of the slump late and got back to his previous balance, finishing the season hitting .366 with 11 homers in 93 at-bats, but the early problems were enough to add some doubt to his profile and move him behind other players on draft boards.
Mitchell is still a highly intriguing prospect and the slow start to the season hardly kills his chances considering his entire body of work. His stock has slipped to second round for many observers and if he falls much further than that, college could become a more attractive option. That said, he could also be something of a bargain if teams decide he has been a victim of prospect fatigue and that his inconsistency this spring was just a glitch.