Swinging a hot bat since being re-called at the start of the month, Cal Mitchell needs to be playing every day for the Pittsburgh Pirates the rest of the way this season
When the calendar flipped from August to September MLB rosters expanded from 26 players to 28. With this, the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted two players to the major league level. One of these two players was outfielder Cal Mitchell.
Being re-called marked the the third stint of the season for Mitchell with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his first MLB season, Mitchell owns 174 plate appearances thus far. Mitchell has hit for a .238/.289/.363 slash line with an 81 wRC+.
When he was promoted at the beginning of the month as a September call-up it did not come as a surprise. Even though Mitchell had poor results in the majors earlier this season, he is a player with very little left to prove in the minors.
In 261 PAs at Triple-A this season Mitchell hit for a .339/.391/.547 slash line and a 146 wRC+. He walked at a 6.5% clip, struck out at just a 14.6% clip, and hit nine home runs while owning a healthy 11.1% extra base hit rate.
Since being re-called, Mitchell has been terrific at the plate for the Pirates. Mitchell has 28 PAs this month. Thus far in September, Mitchell has hit for a .435/.536/.522 slash line, positing a 202 wRC+, 17.9% walk rate and just a 14.3% strikeout rate. His average exit velocity of 91.4 MPH since his re-call is 3 MPH higher than the MLB average exit velocity for hitters.
Hitting the ball hard is nothing new to Mitchell, either. On the season he owns an average exit velocity of 90.2 MPH and hard hit rate of 41.8%. Both of these numbers are better than league average.
Mitchell’s ceiling could be that of a strong fourth outfielder or platoon bat. That said, he’s still just 23-years-old and will not turn 24 until March. There is a chance that there could still be some power development left in Mitchell’s bat. If that were to occur, he could really settle into a nice role with a major league club. The rest of this month needs to be spent giving Mitchell every opportunity to show what he can do with consist MLB at-bats.
As the final three weeks of the 2022 season plays out, Mitchell needs to be playing every day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates need to see what they have in Mitchell and see if he can be part of the 2023 team. Plus, Mitchell has earned the right to be in the lineup with how he performed at Triple-A and how he has hit in the majors thus far in September.