Scouting Yankees Prospect #8: Bryan Mitchell

Mitchell has frontline starting potential

The New York Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Bryan Mitchell in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Rockingham County High School in North Carolina. A high upside hurler, he has proven to be very dominant at times during his first two seasons but, plagued by some inconsistencies, he has been working on honing the weaker areas of his game.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Bryan Mitchell
Position: Pitcher
DOB: April 19, 1991
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"I thought it was a pretty solid year," Mitchell said. "I had some ups and downs but strung together a few good starts. The first few [starts] I was trying to feel it out, I wasn't trying to spot at all. There toward the middle [of the season] me and Danny [Borrell] started working on some things, and strung together some good outings."

He posted a solid 4.09 ERA and led the team in strikeouts in Staten Island in 2011, but as has been the case so far in his young career, he struggled a bit to start the year before making the necessary adjustments.

"Much like the year before his best outings came in August," Staten Island manager Tommy Slater said. "He had five no-hit innings I think in Williamsport and wound up giving up one hit through six [innings], he threw five shutout innings in August in Mahoning Valley.

"He's got plus stuff and when everything is clicking well he can dominate a lineup. He did that on a few occasions [last] summer."

Widely known for his plus fastball, plus curveball combination, it's been his inconsistencies with his delivery and changeup that have held him back from fulfilling his sky-high potential.

"We were just working more with my lower-half, keeping my legs under me more rather than throw all arm pretty much like I was before," Mitchell said. "It gave me a better foundation and the release point was the same with all of my pitches, which led to better location and better outings.

"I felt like [the changeup] was a solid third pitch. I got a lot of swings and misses with it. There were some games I didn't get good action on it but I had confidence in it. I threw it whenever I wanted to."

Always striving to be the best, he didn't have the kind of standout season that he was looking for but he at least knows what he has to do to achieve such lofty goals.

"I don't want to think too much, I just want to go out and pitch," he continued. "I just want to go out and perform from the start. I know the past couple of seasons I haven't done too good right out of the gate. I just want to start good as soon as the season starts. I just want to go out there and pitch.

"I just need to keep my delivery consistent. If I do that my command is there. Sometimes I'll have a few little things throw me off. I just need to stay out in front and not throw across the ball. I just need to have that consistent release point with all three pitches."

Scouts and team officials believe that should his delivery and changeup become consistent going forward that he could develop into that rare frontline starting pitcher in due time.

"I know pretty much all of July and the end of June he strung together five or six starts where he was dominant every time out; able to throw his fastballs for strikes, commanding, especially glove-side, and he was throwing his curveball and changeup for strikes," Staten Island pitching coach Danny Borrell said. "With his stuff, if he can do that, then the kid is going to move pretty quick."

A more consistent delivery is really where it all begins because that will allow him to throw more strikes consistently.

"If he can harness his power -- that's a very special arm -- he has all of the makings to be very, very good," Borrell continued.

"His upside, his stuff, his fastball, his curveball, he's got the chance to be really special," Slater said. "We saw that at times, we saw some dominant outings from him [last] summer."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2011

Staten Island

1-3

0

61.2

65

31

59

4.09

2010

Staten Island

0-1

0

4.0

7

1

3

6.75

2010

Tampa

2-1

0

41.2

28

22

36

3.67



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Broad shouldered and naturally strong, Mitchell sits comfortably in the 91-94 mph range and tops out at 96 mph. It's a good moving, heavy fastball too that opposing batters have a hard time squaring up when he's locating it where he wants. He doesn't have the greatest command of it consistently just yet but that's more of a byproduct of his inconsistent mechanics.

Other Pitches. Blessed with one of the best hammer curveballs in the farm system, Mitchell's 78-82 mph curve is a true 12 to 6, swing and miss pitch that he can consistently command. He'll throw it in any count and in any situation. His power changeup that sits 84-86 mph can be nearly as devastating a weapon when he's commanding it, showing good depth and fade, but his varying release point with it makes it inconsistent at times. It is very close to becoming a plus pitch though.

Pitching. Mitchell is a power pitcher in every sense of the term, one who attacks batters in the zone to get ahead in the count and then go in for the kill with a strikeout pitch. He has trouble getting consistently ahead in the count, however, but he has the type of swing and miss stuff to work himself back into counts. Inconsistent with his delivery, he'll walk a few too many batters when his release point begins to vary and while few can match his ultra-high competitive nature to be the best, sometimes that drive can work against him when things unravel for him delivery-wise. He is at his best when he doesn't try too hard and allows the game to come to him.

Projection. Mitchell already boasts two plus pitches with his fastball and curveball, and his changeup, while inconsistent right now, certainly has long-term plus potential. Those types of pitchers armed with three plus pitches project to have frontline starting stuff at the big league level. He has some work to do to reach that kind of ceiling, however, most notably with making his delivery more consistent and throwing more strikes consistently earlier in counts. Should that happen, the sky is the limit for him potential-wise.

ETA. 2015. Mitchell will be one of the anchors in the Charleston starting rotation in 2012. He could move very quickly once the consistent delivery comes around but for now he appears to be on a one level per year track.

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