When Scott Mitchinson hit the pro ranks in 2004, it looked like he was going to set the world on fire. The following season though, injuries started to hit and Mitchinson quickly tumbled back down to Earth. Last season, he pitched well, but couldn't make it completely through the season without getting hurt again. So now, Mitchinson is somewhat damaged goods and 2007 becomes an important season for him to show just what he can do and the biggest thing that he can show is that he can stay healthy.
Talent wise, Mitchinson has all the goods and has been able to hang around in the rankings, coming in as the 11th best prospect this season and last. Plus, he just turned 22 in December and has time to show what he can do and to move through the system. The down side to that is that a 22 year old with a couple of injury filled seasons certainly has developed some baggage to be concerned about.
Scott Mitchinson's career stats
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Acquired: Signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent.
Repertoire: Mitchinson has a good fastball, curve and change-up and throws strikes. He also mixes his pitches well and keeps hitters off balance. He's got just enough velocity to be effective, but the Phillies would like to see him add a little more velocity to his fastball. He gets good movement on his pitches, but a little added velocity would make a big difference.
Pitching: Mitchinson's control is the key to his success. He keeps the ball down in the zone, but hitters can get some lift on his pitches and he doesn't get as many groundbaall outs as you might think. Even so, he keeps the ball in the park and strikes out a high percentage of hitters. It's going to be interesting to see how Mitchinson responds all of the injury problems; will he come out timid or will he return to the aggressive style of pitching that helped him to explode in the Gulf Coast League in 2004.
Projection: With all of the injuries that Mitchinson has battled, it's tough to tell just how good he can be. If he can put together a full, healthy season, it will be easier to project just how high the ceiling may be for him. Overall, it looks like Mitchinson could be a middle of the rotation type starter and some suggest that he could be effective out of the bullpen. Opponents had a better average against him as a reliever, but he had a slightly higher ERA when he pitched as a starter.
ETA: Again, the injuries have slowed him from climbing up through the system at a faster pace. If - and that should be IF - he can stay healthy, he figures to need a full season at Clearwater and could move at about a level per season from there with some luck. Odds are that he's going to be a little slower than that and that it could be 2011 until he's really getting consideration at the major league level.