Padres Draft: Garrett Mitchell slipping in mock drafts is good news

(Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /
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Could the Padres target UCLA’s Garrett Mitchell with the eighth overall pick?

Up until the last couple of weeks, Garrett Mitchell has consistently been mocked ahead of the Padres‘ eighth overall pick in the upcoming MLB Draft. The UCLA product has been revered as one of the best college outfielders in this class, but several recent mock drafts have him going in the middle of the round. Could this be good news for the Friars?

To this point, I just assumed Mitchell would be off the board by the time the Padres pick, and that may still happen. However, if he’s on the board, General Manager AJ Preller is going to have difficult options to weigh. A pitcher, especially a college pitcher like Max Meyer, would make a lot of sense, but a guy like Mitchell doesn’t come along very often either.

The Orange, California native was previously selected by the Athletics in the 14th round of the 2017 MLB Draft but chose to continue his development at UCLA. Mitchell was a near-regular as a true freshman, posting a .280/.337/.331 line with four doubles, two triples, and 31 RBI.

At the time, he displayed little power and had the tendency to swing and miss. Mitchell took part in the Northwoods League the following summer, where things seem to click for him as he batted .309 while hitting two home runs in a 34-game sample size.

Back on campus, he had a breakout year in 2019, posting a .349/.418/.566 line with 14 doubles, 12 triples, six bombs, and 41 RBI. More importantly, his plate disciplined improved drastically, drawing more walks with fewer strikeouts.

He was off to a strong start before his junior campaign ended prematurely, hitting .355 with six doubles, one triple, and driving in nine runs. Mitchell is a speedy outfielder, and his quickness was on full display while on base, swiping 18 bags in 22 attempts last year.

Mitchell is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and plays with an insulin pump because of Type 1 diabetes. But he has not allowed that to limit him. Most scouts view him sticking in centerfield, which would enable Trent Grisham to slide over to his natural spot in right field while Taylor Trammell would figure to become the everyday left fielder after Tommy Pham‘s contract expires.