The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted prep outfielder Cal Mitchell with the 50th overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, which is their second pick in the second round. Mitchell is from Rancho Bernardo high school in San Diego, which is the same high school that Pirates’ starting pitcher Trevor Williams attended.
Mitchell’s value is driven almost exclusively by his bat. He has plus raw power, the ability to hit to all fields, and is considered one of the better prep bats in the country. He did make an adjustment this year which led to more swings and misses, lowering his draft stock a bit, and leading to poor results this spring. There might be an adjustment needed to get him back on track, and it might not take much with his skills.
Baseball America described him as having “one of the loosest, most fluid swings in the draft class” with good understanding of the strike zone and “electric bat speed” on inside pitches. He also shows the ability to drive outside pitches to the opposite field, which is something the Pirates stress with all of their hitters. It is no surprise they drafted him, since his offensive profile fits a lot of what they look for and what they teach in the system.
He doesn’t have a lot of value beyond the bat. He’s a below-average runner with a below-average arm, profiling best defensively in left field, where he is passable defensively. The Pirates will keep him there as long as needed, and they’ve got no need to rush him through the system with their MLB outfield locked up for the long-term. He could be an option for first base if the power progresses enough and if the defense becomes too much of a liability.
Mitchell has a commitment to San Diego. Here is the link to his player page.