Mitchell Continues To Improve

SCRANTON, PA- Right-hander Bryan Mitchell has always been better known for his top-shelf stuff than he had been for his actual on the field results throughout his minor league career over the years but now he's starting to bring it all together better in what is essentially his first full season at the Triple-A level.

Bryan Mitchell has had a successful start to his first full season in Scranton, posting a 2-2 record with a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 innings of work. Mitchell looks to assume the role of the ace as right handed pitcher Chase Whitley got called up to the Yankees recently.

"I feel like I’ve done pretty well so far," Mitchell said. “I’ve had a couple of starts where I would have liked to have gone deeper in the game but for the most part I’m happy with my performances and where my stuff's been."

The 24-year old right-hander from Reidsville, North Carolina has always been noted for his plus stuff more so than his actual on the field results ever since he started his career after being drafted by the Yankees in 16th round of the 2009 MLB draft.

After posting a 6-7 record with a 4.37 ERA between Trenton and Scranton in 2014, which was his lowest season ERA since posting a 4.09 ERA for short-season Staten Island back in 2010, Mitchell seems to have found his groove, adding a cutter to his repertoire last season that already includes a four-seam fastball that sits in the upper 90’s, a strong curveball and a changeup that is constantly improving.

“I feel like it’s kind of all been working," Mitchell said. "You know you’re not going to have everything every game but for the most part I’ve had at least two or three pitches working every game. My curveball has been working really well for me and my changeup's coming along so I expect to use that more in the future.”

Mitchell was consistently throwing in the mid to upper 90’s in last start against the Gwinnett Braves last Wednesday where he went six innings and allowed just one earned run. It was the fourth time in six starts this season where Mitchell has allowed one earned run or less.

Veteran catcher Eddy Rodriguez has started five of the six starts for Mitchell and it seems that their chemistry is clicking.

“It was just something that the coaching staff did putting us together,” Rodriguez said. “You know I’m a little older, I have some experience with young pitchers and I spent some time in high-A with the Padres when they had their prospects so they kind of put it on me to help him along a little bit. 'Mitch' has unbelievable stuff; he’s as good as anyone I’ve caught in my nine years of pro ball.”

Rodriguez thinks that the addition of Mitchell’s cutter and the improvement of his changeup could be difference-makers for him throughout the year.

“His cutter this year been outstanding but I can say that about all of his pitches," Rodriguez continued. "His curveball is as good as I’ve ever seen. Obviously he has a next gear fastball which reaches about mid to high 90’s and I think his ability to throw that cutter and the confidence in it is going to be a big thing for him.

"Also now he’s been mixing in a changeup which he’s been able to throw in different situations so all that is working together and I think it’s definitely been a positive for him.”

Mitchell has had some struggles in the past with his command but so far it hasn’t been an issue in 2015. His 4.02 walks per nine innings currently is below his career average of 4.31 but more so than anything he's been able to make the big pitch in tough situations when needed, and he says it's a product of not getting ahead of himself anymore.

“I just try to stay consistent, I mean for me it’s just been consistency with my fastball command, getting ahead of guys and staying in attack mode," Mitchell said. "I’ve just been trying to take it one start at a time, just trying to approach it that way and see where it takes me."

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