After the front-end of their starting rotation, the San Diego Padres are counting on a combination of young arms and a veteran or two to make the most of the opportunities they’re being given.
Bryan Mitchell has all but secured a spot in the San Diego Padres starting rotation to begin the season, barring any unforeseen moves that may still come.
Mitchell, 26, is back to being a full-time starting pitcher this season. After spending the first seven seasons of his professional career in the New York Yankees organization as a minor-league starter and a major-league reliever, he was traded to the Padres this past offseason along with Chase Headley.
Mitchell has had brief stretches of success, but without fail, has followed those encouraging stretches with a bad outing or two, setting himself back once again.
The majority of his MLB service-time came in 2015 and 2017 with the Yanks, mostly (all but one appearance) as a relief pitcher. Mitchell’s role was never quite defined by Joe Girardi. He would come in for a hitter, an inning, or as a long-man and never with any regularity.
Mitchell gets a taste of being an everyday MLB’er
Bryan Mitchell’s 2015 season was nothing special, but it afforded some added attention to the then-23-year-old. In 29.2 innings, the rookie pitched to a 6.37 ERA with 29 strikeouts, 16 walks, and a 1.79 WHIP.
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Mitchell made five starts for the Yanks in 2016, pitching well. His 3.24 ERA and 1.52 WHIP over 25 innings showed Girardi, and more importantly Mitchell himself, that he could handle this role at the MLB-level.
The next season, Bryan Mitchell was back in the bullpen for the Yanks but he was starting at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His ERA in SWB, over 63.2 innings was 3.25 and his WHIP was 1.13.
In 32.2 innings with the big club, his 5.79 ERA and 1.68 WHIP signifies to me that aside from the jump in talent from Triple-A to MLB hitters, Mitchell is simply more comfortable as a starting pitcher.
San Diego Padres acquire Mitchell with Headley
Obviously, this is what San Diego Padres’ GM AJ Preller saw in Mitchell when he had him included in the Headley deal.
So far this spring for the Friars, Mitchell has impressed. His 4.50 ERA is misleading since he’s only pitched eight innings thus far. But his 1.13 WHIP and six strikeouts are both glaring signs that Bryan Mitchell has indeed turned a corner in his development.
Padres’ skipper Andy Green is surely hoping that they’ve caught lightning in a bottle by acquiring Mitchell when they did. Here’s hoping that they can trap that bolt of electricity for a few seasons!