Pirates Propsects Daily: Cal Mitchell is Starting to Hit the Ball with Authority

One of the more forgotten players in the system, Cal Mitchell slowly worked his way up the ladder before making his Major League debut last season. 

After gradually improving as he reached each level, despite struggling in his first bit of Major League action, there was hope with his track record he could make the adjustments needed to get another shot.

He got off to a rough start in April, slashing just .207/.253/.280, while striking out 33 times in 22 games played.

Mitchell isn’t a power hitter in the traditional sense, as he was only slightly above average in exit velocity in his time in Pittsburgh last year, as well as falling in the 31st percentile when it comes to max velocity.

Regardless of his overall exit velocity totals, he still hit the ball hard at a good rate, with a 40.7% hard hit rate. 

So looking over his statcast numbers to begin the season, Mitchell struggled to make solid contact early on, posting a 88.67 average exit velocity, with just a 36.9% hard hit rate. He also didn’t barrel up (perfect combination of EV and launch angle) across his first 46 batted ball events.

As the weather has started to warm up the best it can this early in the year in Indianapolis, Mitchell is starting to drive the ball even harder, and at a better rate.

Over his past 30 BBE, Mitchell has an average EV of just over 93 mph. After not ‘barreling’ up any baseballs to start the year, he’s had four in his last 30 BBE (13.3%), which would be among the best rates in the majors right now.

Colder weather doesn’t make the start of the season easy for hitters, even more so for Indianapolis, who have made trips to Toledo, Ohio and St. Paul, Minnesota early on this year.

As things start to stay warm, we may see hitters start to get more comfortable. For Mitchell, he’s looking to create another opportunity at the Major League level for himself. With the team’s recent struggles offensively, if he continues to hit the way he has, he could be in line for that chance.

Prospect Notes

— If you need another example of the potential depth in the system, Thomas Harrington is still pitching for the Bradenton Marauders. Only thing that can slow him down is Mother Nature apparently. 

After three innings where he allowed just a hit and struck out four, a rain delay came and lasted long enough for him not to come back into the game.

— I mentioned after I saw Aaron Shortridge in Richmond last week that he’s struggled a bit out of the gates in most of his starts.

He shored that up, worked quickly through the first two frames, on his way to six shutout innings, dropping his ERA to 3.98. 

— For the first time since 2020, Blake Cederlind stepped on a mound for a professional baseball game. He topped 97 mph three times, struck out a batter, walked two, with both eventually scoring off separate balks.

It’ll be a long way back for the righty, but he’d be an interesting option down the road should he stay healthy and continue to get comfortable. 

Daily Video Rundown

Hudson Head picked up his fourth home run on the season, a three run shot in the first inning that gave Greensboro the lead.

He’s been struggling this year, but Malcom Nunez got a hold of this one, putting Indianapolis on the board.

Brenden Dixon makes a fantastic play at first base tonight to get the out. 

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

Game two of the Pirates-Orioles series takes place tonight at 7:05 PM. There will be a new article on the draft up at 10 AM today.

**The minor league wrap-up from last night

**The frustrating big league wrap-up

**Luis Ortiz Could Benefit From a Heavy Slider Approach

**Pirates Prospects Daily: Alessandro Ercolani is Off to a Strong Start in May

Song of the Day

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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If he keeps hitting, Cal will make a good throw in for a deadline trade. He has no position. Endy may take some 1b time when he arrives. Davis will take some RF when he arrives. And Cal’s arm is less than adequate in RF. Or really anywhere in PNC’s OF.


Ideally he could platoon with Joe, not against every RH pitcher, but a good chunk.


Murph, just know that any video with the Grasshoppers’ announcer home run call is always, always appreciated!


That’s a first listen for me! I don’t know which was more impressive…..the homer (fairly routine lol) or that announcer. I’m going with the announcer! Helluva call! Love it!


I’m sure is tough on dogs ear, delightful for human ears!


I dunno. I think I’d tire of it after 2 dingers.


In a row yeah, but once every other day is a little better!


Love the song and video. However, the song’s title is an oft held belief. You may be in ‘good’ company, but you won’t be enjoying it.


You better get right, or you’re gonna get left!


Could be a theme for these boards the last couple weeks.


Hopefully Cal will cut down the strikeouts, he already has more this year than last in half the at bats.
2022 he had 38K’s 236 at bats
2023 he has 40K’s 118 at bats


Sometimes you just have to swing your way out of a slump.


Is there another way? 🤭🤭🤭


Hoping Cedarlind makes it all the way back…

Pirates Prospects Daily



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