The Pittsburgh Pirates are set to call up outfielder Cal Mitchell, according to Rob Biertempfel, who first reported the news. Mitchell has hit for a .307/.362/.500 line in Indianapolis this year over 138 plate appearances.
This performance came after the Pirates opted to leave Mitchell off the 40-man roster this offseason. Ultimately, that didn’t have any negative impacts, as the Rule 5 draft was cancelled. However, when it came to decision time, the Pirates left Mitchell available for any team to take, while protecting Travis Swaggerty, Canaan Smith-Njigba, and Jack Suwinski. The latter is in Pittsburgh now, while the first two were Mitchell’s teammates in Indianapolis.
It’s a big testament to Mitchell that he was able to fully earn this promotion, and it’s a sign of how he’s been able to work his way back up the depth chart. He’s always had a lot of raw power, as well as solid plate patience and contact skills. He’s not a flashy guy in any one area of his game, but he also doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses as a corner guy. He gives you consistency, when his bat is at its best, capable of keeping things going after the middle of the lineup does damage. Mitchell is having his best statistical season this year, at the highest level of the minors.
We’ve written about Mitchell a lot this year, for good reason. I started by writing about his power potential, and how he was seeking earlier pitch recognition and quicker decisions at the plate. Our Indianapolis writer, Ryan Palencer, had an update on Mitchell three weeks ago in our Indianapolis update.
From Ryan’s article:
“I am feeling good at the plate,” Mitchell said. “I feel like I am balanced and feel strong in my load and my swings. I am making hard contact early in the count, which is generally when the best pitches to hit are. I have been able to take advantage of those pitches early in the count.”
This approach has paid off early for Mitchell and put him on the doorstep for a promotion to Pittsburgh. His biggest challenge is that he is not yet on the 40 man roster. However, another month or two like he has put together so far, and Mitchell can show the fans in PNC Park just how fast he is now.
Mitchell will now get that chance.