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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: Bryan Mitchell

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Mitchell had a solid, albeit brief showing in the big leagues in 2014. What does his future hold?

Patrick Smith

Grade: C

2014 Statistics: (AA): 14 G, 61.1 IP, 4.84 ERA, 4.09 FIP
(AAA): 9 G, 41.2 IP, 3.67 ERA, 4.44 FIP
(MLB): 3 G, 11.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 3.22 FIP

2015 Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration

It's probably not terribly frequent that a pitcher with a FIP over four at two minor league levels gets a promotion to the big leagues, but that was the case with Bryan Mitchell in 2014. We find in baseball that necessity often trumps worthiness, and with the Yankees pitching staff having all manner of pianos and safes dropped on it Mitchell made his MLB debut in 2014. Mitchell had middling performances at both Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton after posting an ERA over five in his time at High-A Tampa in 2013. It seems that the Yankees have no qualms about pushing Mitchell along in spite of uninspiring minor league performances, and it likely has to do with what Mitchell brings to the table. He has a fastball that tops out in the mid-nineties and a nasty breaking pitch, so it's not surprising that the Yankees seem enamored with the 23 year-old.

Mitchell got the call to pitch for the Yankees in August and responded by tossing two scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians. His only start at the major league level was a trial by fire to be sure: a September 12th start against the division champion Baltimore Orioles. He slogged through a five-inning, six-hit, two-walk affair allowing just two runs. Not too shabby for the rookie, all things considered. He made one more appearance for the team in relief against the Red Sox.

Mitchell's main concerning attribute has been his control, and this season was really no different. He had a 4.2 BB/9 at Double-A and 3.4 at Triple-A. He doesn't have a great strikeout rate, so he's going to have to work on keeping the walks down to be successful. There are some parallels between Mitchell and fellow rookie Shane Greene, who also possesses what would be considered plus stuff and had less than inspiring minor league peripheral stats. Whether or not Mitchell has similar success obviously remains to be seen.

Mitchell's 2015 will likely be similar to how Greene's was: spot starter and possible long man out of the bullpen. The bullpen may be where Mitchell's future lies since reports are that he doesn't really have a changeup or third offering of note, but for now he's slotted as a starter. If the Yankees rotation actually doesn't resemble a M.A.S.H. unit this season, Mitchell could likely spend much of the year back in Scranton. Since we know better than to expect that, you can count on seeing Mitchell toe the rubber as a starter for the 2015 Yankees at some point down the line.