Bryan Mitchell was drafted by the Yankees in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB draft out of Rockingham County High School in Reidsville, North Carolina. The 6' 3", 205 lb right-hander has absolutely electric stuff: a four-seam fastball that easily sits in the upper 90's, mainly 97-98 mph; a strong 12-6 curveball; a cutter, which he added to his arsenal last season that sits mostly 91-92 mph; and an improving change up. Unfortunately for the 22-year-old Mitchell, the consistency and command just haven't been quite there. In four seasons, 79 games (76 starts), and 372.2 innings pitched, Mitchell has a 4.47 ERA and 3.73 FIP.
Combined between High-A and Double-A: 27 games (26 starts), 4.71 ERA, 3.34 FIP, .758 opp. OPS
Like the rest of his minor league career, Mitchell pitched a lot worse in 2013 than his stuff would suggest. Twenty four of Mitchell's 27 total appearances came in High-A, where he pitched to a disappointing 5.12 ERA, albeit with a pretty decent FIP of 3.47. Despite the poor ERA, the Yankees promoted Mitchell to Double-A Trenton, where he was a part of the Thunder's run to the Eastern League Championship. Mitchell did show some promise with the Thunder, albeit in a limited three-start sample. In those three regular season starts with Trenton, Mitchell posted a 1.93 ERA and 2.45 FIP through 18.2 innings pitched. In his two postseason starts, Mitchell allowed five runs in 10.1 innings, but mixed in 11 walks.
Despite the high walk total in the postseason, Mitchell's walk total in the 2013 regular season improved from years past. In 2013, Mitchell pitched to a 3.6 BB/9 (3.8 BB/9 in Tampa, 2.4 BB/9 in Trenton), whereas he posted a 5 BB/9 from 2010-2012. Conversely, Mitchell's strikeout numbers dropped from previous years as well. Last season, Mitchell posted a 7.4 K/9 between Double-A and Triple-A, which should be much higher given his stuff, whereas he had an 8.7 K/9 the previous three seasons.
After being added to the 40-man roster this winter, Mitchell is set to headline a Double-A rotation that doesn't expect to feature too many big names behind him (unless if you count Shane Greene), at least to begin the season. If Mitchell can further improve his command and consistency, there is a chance he could get a promotion to Triple-A Scranton sometime later in the year. If Mitchell can straighten himself out, he has a chance to become a front-line starter. If not, like seemingly every other starter in the Yankees' system, there is at least a fair chance Mitchell will have to move to the bullpen. If it comes to that, he can become, theoretically, a dominant, late-inning reliever, given his dynamite stuff.
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