Scott Mitchinson knew that he was a pretty good pitcher, but his first season success caught even him by surprise. "I just wanted to get invited back," explained the Australian born phenom. He doesn't need to worry; he is more than welcome to return. In fact, the Phillies request the pleasure of his company perhaps at a full-season level with Lakewood, where he was recently assigned - at least temporarily.
For fans and scouts who love the big-time fastball, Mitchinson is not their guy. If you enjoy watching more of the Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine style, than you'll enjoy the opportunity to watch Mitchinson pitch. He doesn't worry about velocity, he worries about doing all he can to get hitters out. Early on coaches stressed hitting his spots and working on his control and he was a good learner. In 62 innings last season, Mitchinson walked just one hitter. In any league, that's a stat that is bound to draw plenty of attention. "My control has always been there. It's just something that I worked on early on, because the coaches told me not to worry about arm speed and to hit my spots," remembers Mitchinson.
With six Australian players in the organization, Mitchinson stands out among the rest. His 2004 season was impressive enough to net him the Paul Owens Award as the organization's top pitcher. It's an award that Mitchinson didn't even know existed. "I wasn't aware of the award until they told me I had won," said Mitchinson. The award brought with it a trip to Citizens Bank Park. "Sweet," is how he described the place that he may call home one day in the not too distant future. Of course, the only other major league park that Mitchinson has been to is Tropicana Field in Tampa, a far cry from the natural grass of CBP.
The Phillies work in Australia is paying off. "They're (the Phillies) becoming very well known back home," believes Mitchinson. "It used to be the Twins who were the best known, but now, it's the Phillies." In scouting Mitchinson, the Phillies were ahead of other clubs and were the only serious contenders for his services. "There were other teams watching me, but the Phillies showed the most interest. Nobody else put a contract in front of me," said Mitchinson. Before long, the numbers on those contracts could increase greatly and we can only hope it's the Phillies wallet that the money is coming out of.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||GS||CG||IP||H||R||ER||BB||KO||HR|
|2004 Gulf Coast||7||0||1.75||0||10||10||0||62.0||40||12||12||1||60||2|
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in March 2003.
Repertoire: Basic fastball, curveball, change-up style pitcher. "I throw in the high 80s," explained Mitchinson. "I might touch 90 or a little more on a good day." His curve and change are developing, but the key to success has been spotting his pitches and simply relying on control.
Pitching: One walk in 62 innings. You can't do better than that! It's location, location, location for Mitchinson, but don't think that he simply relies on not walking hitters and just lets guys put the ball in play. Take note, that he struck almost one hitter per inning, thanks to mixing his pitches and using that pinpoint control. He keeps the ball down and allowed just two homeruns in his first pro season. This guy is a highlight film for any young pitcher that insists they need to throw hard to get hitters out.
Projection: The Phillies recently transferred Mitchinson to the Lakewood roster. That doesn't mean he'll stick there, but it's an indication that it's at least being seriously considered as a new home for the Australian right-hander. Mitchinson shouldn't have any problem jumping over Batavia and moving to a full-season league. "I've talked to (Scott) Mathieson about Lakewood and he told me it's a lot tougher, but he thinks I'd do okay there," says Mitchinson. It's much too early in his career to herald Mitchinson as the next Gavin Floyd or to pencil him in for a spot right near the top of the Phillies rotation a few years down the road. However, all of the natural talent is there and Mitchinson knows how to get hitters out, so as Mitchinson would say, "no worries."
ETA: The Phillies don't like to fast track players, especially young pitchers. It does appear though that they may give Mitchinson a green light. He could move very quickly and head for Philly by late in 2008. Again, it's tough to judge such a young player, but there is a tremendous upside to Mitchinson and as the scouts say, 'he's very projectable'.
Comparison: Let's not compare young players to Hall of Famers. In style only, Mitchinson compares to Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine. Again, that's not to say we should start clearing a spot in Cooperstown for him, but he works along the same process as both of those pitchers and could have a lot of major league success.