"As far as last year and compared to how I did this year, I would say it would be an ‘A', easily," D.J. Mitchell said of his Spring Training performacne. "I felt what I accomplished this year as opposed to last year was a big jump, a big difference.
"I think I did really well. I accomplished a lot of things that I wanted to do, but I always feel there's something better. I don't feel like I'm anywhere close to perfecting anything I've done so there's always room for improvement, but I just know that I'm headed in the right steps towards doing that."
He quickly realized in big league camp that he got a little too fastball happy and set out to incorporate his offspeed pitches more once he got sent down to minor league camp.
It was there that he was throwing both his plus changeup and wicked curveball consistently for strikes in every outing, and the once predominant fastball hurler heads into the 2011 season with an array of big league quality secondary pitches that he can command.
"I probably have to say my changeup," he opined as his best offspeed pitch. "It's weird to say that because before it was pretty much non-existent and over last year, after five or so starts, it became my best pitch.
"I can throw it to righties or lefties in any count. It's pretty much the same way with my breaking ball as well, but my changeup is definitely my go-to pitch."
Not one to hit the mid-90s with his fastball, Mitchell has continuously flown under the national radar in prospect circles despite generating great movement with all of his pitches and he says he wouldn't have it any other way.
"It doesn't really matter when people don't notice me," he said flatly. "It doesn't bother me at all.
"The way Spring Training went, as long as I can continue to build off of that and do the same things I did in Tampa, I'm expecting myself to round out what I've been trying to do and put it all together to have a good year."
Posting a 6.63 ERA and walking six more batters than he struck out in the month of April last year with Double-A Trenton, he is hoping that he can use his tremendous Spring Training as a carryover effect to a more complete 2011 season.
"That's exactly right, that's what I'm hoping to do," he said. "Spring Training is meant to get you prepared for the season and I did really well in Spring Training. I hope to keep it up and just carry it over throughout the season.
"It's a good sign when you leave Spring Training knowing you pitched well and everything is going the right way. Hopefully I can carry that over and do the same thing.
"I'm really excited. I'm pumped to get this thing going. It's going to be fun."
D.J. Mitchell Looking For Carryover Effect
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