Scouting Yankees Prospect #34: Bryan Mitchell

Mitchell has both 'now' stuff and projection

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. Originally committed to the University of North Carolina, the Yankees tabbed his high ceiling a necessity and lured him away from school with a reported $800,000 signing bonus.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Bryan Mitchell
Position: Pitcher
DOB: April 19, 1991
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He pitched eight complete games in his final two years of high school and struck out 183 batters in a little more than 108 innings over that span, but he didn't get to make his official professional debut in 2009 because he signed so late.

"It was tough being down there and not able to pitch," Mitchell said of being around the Gulf Coast League Yankees. "It felt good [down at Instructs]. The first time out in my first start I was pretty nervous, but after that it felt to be out there pitching again."

Despite being limited to just a pair of Instructional League appearances in his short career thus far, team insiders can't help but be excited about his overall potential.

"He's got a good curveball and the fastball keeps developing," Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said on draft day. "It keeps coming.

"We've seen him in short stints where the fastball has been in the 92-93 range, but he's got a now curveball. This kid's got the chance to be pretty good."

He showed that same kind of stuff at Instructs and he did it with command, and at just 18 years old that is a rare quality. But perhaps more than that is the confidence booster he has received even before starting his career.

"I guess it's just the reinforcement from the coaches that I have the stuff to be able to get to the Major Leagues," he said of what he's learned the most so far. "I just have to trust myself pretty much.

"I feel I'm just as good as anybody out there. I've just got to do it right. I have the ability, I just have to stay within myself, work hard, and do everything I can to get there."

The fastball, curveball, and command are all now qualities for the teenager, and that will allow him to focus on gaining strength and working on his changeup going forward.

"I'm just going to work hard this offseason to make sure I'm ready [for Spring Training]," Mitchell said. "Obviously I want to gain some weight and get stronger, but I want to get the feel for that changeup so I can use it in Spring Training."


Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Mitchell reportedly sits in the 91-93 mph range already and the word is he does it with easy arm action. At 6-foot-2 and just 175-pounds, however, there is a ton of room to gain some strength in the coming years and that could allow his fastball to reach the plus velocity level. While the velocity is more than solid already, what has scouts excited is his ability to locate his fastball at such a young age.

Other Pitches. What makes Mitchell stand out from most high school pitchers just starting their professional careers is reportedly being armed with a plus big league curveball AND being able to command it. Teenagers aren't supposed to do that. Mitchell himself even admits his changeup is a work in progress because it wasn't a pitch he needed to throw in high school. He's comfortable with the grip, the arm action, and the fade he gets with it already, so it does have plus potential, but the command of his changeup isn't there yet.

Pitching. The early word is Mitchell has really good command of his two primary pitches but he can get himself into trouble with walks because he can fall in love with the strikeout. That should change in time once the Yankees introduce the two-seamer to him and after he gets better command of his changeup. He is a very intelligent young man and the Yankees are encouraged by his advanced feel for pitching. The biggest weakness in his game is his lack of size and putting on useful weight will be a constant mantra for the time being.

Projection. Mitchell hasn't pitched in an official minor league game yet but already team officials believe his ceiling is sky-high. There's a lot of work to do towards tapping his potential, however, and it starts and ends with getting stronger and improving his changeup. Should he accomplish those goals, many scouts believe his upside is that of a top end starting pitcher.

ETA. 2014. Prior to this offseason, Mitchell was a shoe-in to begin in the short-season leagues next season. The trade of Arodys Vizcaino, however, at least opens the door of possibility that he could maybe break with the Charleston Riverdogs if he has a tremendous Spring Training. Staten Island seems more likely though.

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