Lost and Found: White Sox Prospect Jared Mitchell
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.
Lost: Jared Mitchell was the Chicago White Sox’s first-round draftee in 2009, tabbed 23rd overall because of the raw, physical tools he displayed on the LSU gridiron: speed and potential power. He showed the former and some of the latter on the diamond in ’09 before missing all of 2010 due to ankle surgery. The he fell off the map in 2011.
2011: .222 AVG, .304 OBP, 48 XBH, 183 K in 477 AB spanning 129 G at Class A Adv. Winston-Salem
Found: Mitchell came back for a second full — and healthy — season in ’12 and, despite his struggles in ’11, was pushed aggressively up the White Sox latter. He responded.
2012: .237 AVG, .358 OBP, 48 XBH, 179 K in 455 AB spanning 130 G split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.
So Mitchell was lost, now he is found. Now, about the White Sox’s returns: Mitchell, now 24, didn’t approach the .294 batting average he posted in his debut pro season and he probably won’t again in his career. But he has re-proven his value elsewhere: So long as he can get on base regularly (.358 OBP) and steal bases (21 in 27 attempts) and play strong defense, his floor will be as a fourth Major League outfielder. Can Mitchell be more than that? Sure, and he may very well be. A third straight full — and healthy — season in ’13 will reveal more, but we know this now: Mitchell is a ranked prospect again, and he deserves to be.