Charleston, WV – It is not unusual for a baseball prospect to enter a season amid considerable hype and fail to meet those lofty expectations.
Calvin Mitchell is not one of those players, at least not so far this season.
Mitchell, an outfielder, was recently named a South Atlantic League All-Star along with West Virginia Power teammate Deon Stafford, and with good reason. He has been the Power best player this season and, as evident by his All-Star nod, one of the best in the SAL so far in 2018.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Mitchell said of the All-Star selection. “It was one of my goals that I started with in the beginning of the season and I really wanted to be on the team. I worked hard to get there, and I did.”
Mitchell has been a standout at the plate for the Power in 2018. When Pirates Prospects caught up with him early in the season, he spoke of the work he put in during the off-season to refine his approach in the batter’s box and the work he’s put in with West Virginia hitting coach Chris Petersen and manager Wyatt Toregas. That work was paying off in April and has shown no signs of stopping as the season winds its way through June.
The San Diego native, a second-round draft pick by the Pirates last summer, is among the SAL leaders in batting average (.324), slugging percentage (.518), on-base percentage (.385) and OPS (.903), runs batted in (34) and runs scored (33) entering play Wednesday.
“I’m seeing the ball really well,” Mitchell said. “What has been working is trying to have good vision at the plate and good pitch selection — going after the good ones.”
Toregas has been around the game at the professional level long enough to know when a player has “the look” — and he’s not shy about singing the praises of his standout right fielder. In his last 10 games, Mitchell is batting .343 as the Power fights to stay in the race for the SAL Northern Division first-half title.
“He’s a pro,” Toregas said. “He’s got great character, great integrity. He always does what he is supposed to do. He doesn’t talk a whole lot, he just works. If things are going good you don’t know it, and if things are going bad you don’t know it. He’s the same guy every single day. On top of that, he has ability. He can just flat-out hit. Lefty, righty, high-velo, low-velo, pitched backwards, it doesn’t matter. He’s going to put the barrel on the ball.”
One thing the Power manager has pointed out on several occasions this season when asked about Mitchell is how easy-going the 19-year-old Californian is and how that relates to the work he puts in for the club. Toregas said he thinks Mitchell has the total package and, provided things break the right way down the line, he’ll be suiting up for games in Major League stadiums before too long.
“He’s easy-going, but he has drive in there,” Toregas said. “He has all the making of just being a guy down the road. I can see this kid being a major leaguer easily as long as he continues on the path he’s going and has the luck and all those things. He’s got a chance. The kid’s a pro. I’ll just flat-out say it, he’s a pro.”