Out of necessity, the Yankees have made many call-ups and send-downs for their bullpen such as Lance Pendleton and Hector Noesi, both of whom are currently on the New York Roster, and D.J. Mitchell knows that he can very well be next.
"I really don't worry about that," Mitchell said. "When it's my time, I'll know. This is something I try not to worry about."
It is a lot of hard work for a young player to make it to the big show but Mitchell is aware of what it will take for him to take his game to the next level.
"I think [making it to the majors is] when I finally get to round my game all out, when I finally put everything together and have some games where I accomplish everything that I need to do," Mitchell said.
If Mitchell does get that call-up some day he will most likely be taking his talents to the bullpen because that is the greater need for the Yankees. That need gives Mitchell an advantage.
When Kevin Millwood arrived for his short stay in the Scranton rotation Mitchell was the odd man out and he was sent to the bullpen. He had pitched seven innings without giving up a run before he was placed back in the starting rotation.
Once back in the rotation Mitchell did not miss a beat. In his next two games he threw at least 6.2 innings and had an ERA of 1.97.
"It's a possibility that could happen, maybe later down the road I could move to the bullpen," Mitchell said. "It's not that big of a deal. At Spring Training we were pitching out of the bullpen so it wasn't really that much of a difference [to me]."
Mitchell started out as a slick fielding centerfielder in high school but then was converted to the sinkerballer he is today. He only had two full seasons of pitching under his belt after college. This had some scouts wondering if the late start at pitching would have an effect on his career, but according to Mitchell, it hasn't.
"This is my third season with the Yankees and I've learned so much being around these guys at every level I've been at," Mitchell said. "There's definitely more I need to learn and time will tell if I eventually figure it out."
Over his career, Mitchell has been criticized for his struggles against left-handed batters. Part of his success this season, however, is that Mitchell has held lefties to a .247 batting average against.
"[So far this season] I've taken the same approach but I think it's just I've been able to come out with better results. Usually I get off to a slow start to the year, but I think for the most part it has been a little better of a start," Mitchell said. "There are a lot of things I've been working on that I've finally been able to carry over so that's part of the reason why."
Mitchell said that he has been working on just his "command in general" and his key in the game is the command of his fastball. According to Mitchell, if the command of the fastball is there, then everything will with "work around it."
Mitchell's stuff been progressing over the three years he has been in the minors. He has moved through the Yankees system quickly. After being drafted in 2008, he has moved up three levels in the organization.
"I think a couple of my pitches have developed very well. They've come a long way and I'm starting to put it all together day by day," Mitchell said. "I'm trying to get better with each start and each side [throwing session]. I think I'm getting pretty close."
Mitchell, along with Adam Warren and David Phelps, is considered to be one of the Yankees "second-tier prospects." According to Scranton Wilkes-Barre catcher Jesus Montero, though, they all still have high potential and what makes them stand out is they have very good "baseball routines."
So far this season, Mitchell has pitched to a 3-3 record with a 3.19 ERA and he's hoping to keep up the success.
"I just have to keep doing what I've been doing," Mitchell said. "Keep concentration on my side works and my bullpens and I just have to keep working hard."
Mitchell Getting Close
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Yankees Prospect Power RankingsHere are the top 20 performances by the Yankees' prospects in the long-season leagues. This is our fourth installment of the Power Rankings for the 2017 season.
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