|Height / Weight: 6'1 /182|
|Bats / Throws: R/R|
|Drafted: round 15, 2003|
It took Russ Mitchell eight long minor leagues seasons but he finally got to the Show in 2010 after a very successful AAA season. Mitchell had his best offensive year since he played rookie ball in Ogden where at age 20, he had put up a .370 wOBA while playing third base making many think he might be a prospect. It was not unlike what Jake Lemmerman and many of the other Pioneers did at the same age this year.
That rookie season however was the highlight of Mitchell's minor league career. By the time 2009 had ended he had finished two seasons at AA, and his career was in free fall. He had been moved from third base to first base but was hitting like a shortstop. After seven minor league seasons the outlook was dim for Russ, who would have had every right to be questioning if he would ever make the major leagues.
For some reason the Dodgers gave him an invite to the AFL where he proceeded to tear the league apart but no one cared except the Dodgers. He turned enough heads so that he got an invite to the Dodger development camp in January, followed by an invite to major league camp for spring training. From there he went to AAA and became a third baseman again, rediscovering his bat in the offensively charged Isotope home park. Russ had a solid AAA season, the only blemish being that the he did most of his damage at home putting up a 1.017 OPS at home, only .767 on the road. Still he had some other things going for him, his K rate has fallen for the fourth year in a row from a peak of 22% to a solid 14%. He showed he could still play 3rd base, played some 1st base, and even saw time in the outfield.
All in all he showed enough that the Dodgers brought him up when the rosters expanded in September. His average will show that he only hit .143 but for those who watched him, he seemed to hit a good many balls on the nose. His microscopic BABIP of .125 shows just how bad his luck was in September. He only had six hits in September but two of them left yard.
Mitchell has all of 28 days of MLB service time, so he has three more seasons of team control. Mitchell has three options remaining.
Mitchell would probably be a welcome addition to a bench devoid of right handed power when Thames is starting. He also might be a welcome addition as a platoon partner for Loney who continues to have problems with southpaws. However he still has option years left, so I'm sure he will be starting the year with the Isotopes where I expect he will have a Lindsey-like season.
I doubt if Russ Mitchell will ever be a full time major league baseball player but I can certainly see a future where he plays for 5-6 years on a semi regular basis providing flexibility on the bench, and decent hitting prowess against LHP. Maybe a light version of Kevin Millar or a late blooming Casey Blake. That would be his ceiling, his floor is utter and complete failure to hit major league pitching, handle third base well enough to ever see time there, and not be in the teams future whatsoever.
What are your projections for Mr. Mitchell?