Evan Mitchell was originally selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 13th round of the 2013 draft out of Mississippi State. He didn’t pitch much that first season after the draft, throwing just 3.0 innings for the Arizona League Reds.

In 2014 he was solid with the Dayton Dragons, but missed 2-and-a-half months in the middle of the season. In 2015 he spent the entire year in Daytona, and he had some struggles. His ERA was 3.84 (league average ERA was 3.21) and he kept the ball in the stadium, but he struggled with his control – walking 33 batters with just 42 strikeouts in 58.2 innings pitched. He would return to Daytona to start the 2016 season and he pitched well in the first seven weeks of the season, posting a 3.38 ERA in 16.0 innings with six walks and 18 strikeouts.

That time got him promoted to Double-A Pensacola. It was in his time with the Blue Wahoos where things got a bit more interesting. His ERA dropped to 2.70 in the Southern League, and his walk rate was easily the lowest of his career at any stop of his professional career (8.1%). His strikeout rate, however, was the second lowest of his career (17.2%). The results were a bit of a mixed bag.

Evan Mitchell is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League with the Peoria Javelinas. The overall numbers are a bit interesting. His ERA isn’t nice and shiny, sitting at 5.27 through 13.2 innings.  He has walked five batters and he’s got 12 strikeouts with two home runs allowed to go along with 10 hits. The ERA doesn’t quite match up with peripherals, and it’s been two outings that have made up most of his ERA issues. On October 26th and November 2nd he was charged with three runs in each outing over a combined 3.0 innings.

He’s also been generating a high rate of ground balls while in Arizona, generating grounders at a rate of 66% (which was also his rate during the regular season).

Evan Mitchell is eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft if he goes unprotected by the Cincinnati Reds. Last week in my article on the players that needed to be protected, but that I’d ultimately leave unprotected, I didn’t mention Evan Mitchell among the players. That, was probably a mistake on my part (ok, not probably). The team has a few days remaining to make the decision on players.

The right hander has had success in Double-A, and while he’s not posting a shiny ERA in the Arizona Fall League, he’s pitching well despite that. The league itself is a place where scouts get final looks at guys before the Rule 5 draft and Evan Mitchell may very well be turning some heads.

As noted above, Evan Mitchell has been a huge groundball pitcher this year, both in the regular season and in the Arizona Fall League. He posted a low ERA in Daytona/Pensacola this year, with most of his season coming in Double-A. The numbers are there for a look, but it’s been the stuff that’s really been interesting to see step up while out in the Arizona Fall League.

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During the regular season, Mitchell was throwing in the 92-95 MPH range – plenty good enough, and he’d occasionally touch higher with his fastball. He also mixes in a slider often and a change up every so often.

In Arizona, the right hander has averaged 96 MPH with his fastball and his slider has averaged 90 MPH. He’s throwing both a 4-seamer and a 2-seamer in Arizona right now, with the 4-seam fastball topping out, if we are going to round the decimal place up, at 99 MPH (98.6) and the 2-seamer has topped out at 97 MPH (97.2).

From a pure stuff standpoint, he’s got the kind of big arm that you could see a team take a real chance on in the Rule 5 draft. He’s been throwing between 94-97 MPH and has touched 99 MPH in Arizona and he’s throwing a slider in the upper 80’s to low 90’s. The velocity around baseball has jumped up, but there aren’t tons of guys doing that around baseball.

What’s worth noting is that Evan Mitchell has spent a decent amount of his outings in multi-inning games. In Arizona he’s thrown more than one inning in four of his 10 games. This year with the Reds organization between Daytona and Pensacola he threw more than an inning of work in 21 of his 45 games. The Reds, at least at the big league level, seem to be looking at guys who can throw more than one inning in the bullpen (openly talking about using Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias in such a manner). With a big time arm, and already being used in multi-inning outings, Mitchell could be the kind of guy that the organization is looking for.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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