Pirates Draft Outfielder Cal Mitchell With Their Second Pick in the Second Round

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.

  • At what point do the Pirates have to start drafting college seniors to be able to sign all these kids away from their commitments?

  • I always dislike when we pick players who profile as Left Fielders in the majors because the Pirates can’t afford to have a prototypical slow-footed, weak-armed, guy out there. And we can’t keep drafting players who will eventually end up at 1B behind Bell, Osuna, Conner, Craig, and Espinal…

  • This dude is Barrett Barnes.

  • I was trying to find John’s article on best power hitters to see if anyone is left for our 72nd pick. Anyone know if there are any power bats left?

    • Matijevic! He wouldn’t be quite as much my boy as Newman, but close. There’s a lot of power in that bat.

      (And I know you all want me to start another fan club.)

    • Riley Adams C San Diego

    • And they get one – Connor Uselton, OF, HS Oklahoma. Regarded as a very projectable RH power bat with lots of athleticism.

  • Big upside bat, could start out like Hughston did last year though. He has sold out to pull recently, and has to go back to using the whole field.

  • Wow. Going upside in this draft, it would seem!

    • Lots of children!

      I’m expecting another long list of college guys starting in the 11th round, but it will be interesting to see how things shake out before then.