Now that their first professional action is over, we started to take a look at how the Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 draft class fared. So far we have recapped both Shane Baz and Steven Jennings’ seasons.
One position that was once the strength of the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system has dramatically declined over the last four years or so, and that would be the team’s outfield depth. The Neal Huntington era saw top outfield prospects like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco come up from the farm. He himself has overseen the prospect development of Austin Meadows and Jordan Luplow. However, with the outfield having a steady pipeline of talent, Huntington and staff focused on building up the pitching and infield depth in the system. Now, the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to find a few new top outfield prospects.
Calvin Mitchell was the first outfield prospect taken in the top two rounds by the Pittsburgh Pirates since they drafted Austin Meadows in 2013. He was the 50th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in their 2017 draft class. The California native signed for slot value of $1.3 million.
Cal Mitchell, a high school outfielder from Rancho Bernardo High School in California, stands at 6’0″ and 190 pounds, and he will not turn 19 until January. He can add some weight and muscle to his frame, but given his height probably not much. Meanwhile, Mitchell will likely be a 15-20 home run guy with more doubles power as he does not have the prototypical big, power frame for a corner outfielder. Also, in general, he tried to hit for more power this past high school season and saw his numbers dip down. He is very athletic though and should be able to adjust into a solid, pure left-handed hitter. Furthermore, he is not the fastest, so the Pittsburgh Pirates have him playing left field already.
In his professional début, the Pittsburgh Pirates had Mitchell playing for their Gulf Coast League affiliate. He hit .243 and got on base at a really strong clip of .351. Mitchell only slugged .352, but that is common for prep players transitioning to wooden bats. He did hit 11 doubles and two home runs in 43 games while striking out 35 times. His power numbers will likely increase as he projects to be a solid doubles hitter with good pull pop.
Here at Rum Bunter, we have Mitchell ranked as the Pittsburgh Pirates number 19 overall prospect. With his high strikeout rate in his senior year, and his lack of home run power projection, he does not really represent a big-time impact player, but rather a solid everyday guy. MLB Pipeline is much higher on him having him ranked at number 13. In a way this makes sense, being he is still 18 years of age and still have plenty of time to develop physically as well as a ballplayer. The Bucs are usually a little more aggressive with their prep hitters than pitchers. Normally pitchers report to Short-Season A ball, while the hitters get sent to Low-A full season. So Mitchell very well could end up playing for the West Virginia Power in 2018.