Mitchell Starts His Career With A Bang

D.J. Mitchell has gotten off to a hot start

D.J. Mitchell, a tenth round pick by the Yankees last season out of Clemson University, was widely considered one of the best pitching prospects in the organization already by team insiders despite not pitching a professional game until this season. Beginning his year going 3-0 for the Charleston Riverdogs, he has started his professional career with a bang.

"I feel great," D.J. Mitchell said. "I came into Spring Training not really knowing what to expect in my first year.

"I just went out there and did the best that I could. I got good instruction and so far it has carried over into the season. So far, so good."

With a total of 28 strikeouts and just one walk through his first four starts, he has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio among starting pitchers in all of minor league baseball and he's tied for ninth in total strikeouts, not too shabby for a pitcher with no professional appearances prior to this season.

Throw in the fact he entered the organization known merely for his plus sinker and developing secondary pitches, his ability to throw all pitches consistently for strikes thus far has been quite uncanny.

"My command," he listed as the most pleasant surprise so far. "I didn't think my command would be quite where it's at right now, but I just think that's the hard work we put in at Spring Training and all of the bullpens, and all of the side [sessions]. From the offseason into Spring Training, it's just carrying over into the season."

The carryover effect of the rapid development of his curveball and changeup during his two Instructional League camps and first Spring Training has been nothing short of staggering.

But while he has been able to use both his now plus curveball and plus changeup to help him pile up the strikeouts and have some immediate success right out of the proverbial gate, Mitchell remains grounded in his hot start and he refuses to let it go to his head.

"I'm still working on my changeup a lot, my offspeed, just so I can throw all of my pitches for strikes," he admitted. I'm still working on that.

"So far I've been pretty good at it but I've only had [four] starts so I still have a long way to go and a lot more to do to get better. We'll see what happens."

A confident and intelligent young man, he won't allow his ego to get the best of him and concede the point that he expected to start his career off in such strong fashion.

"I was hoping I would," Mitchell said. "I was just going out there trying to attack the hitters, try and put the ball in play.

"I've got some strikeouts, but I'm just trying to go out there and compete. That's all I know how to do and that's what I do best. So far the results have been really good."

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

Become an annual subscriber today! Recommended Stories