It's just six at-bats, but Jared Mitchell's spring is off to a fantastic start. He has three hits -- one double, one homer, one single -- but more importantly, he's looked healthy. In Monday's spring training opener, Mitchell hit a liner that caromed off the second base bag into short right field, and he legged out the play for a double.
Yes, his three outs this spring have all been strikeouts. Given that's been a problem for him in the past, those whiffs are something to note.
But really, the results aren't the most important thing for Mitchell. The ankle injury he suffered in spring training two years ago lingered through 2011, which saw him hit .222 with a .304 OBP while striking out 183 times. Perhaps more telling was that Mitchell only stole 14 of 20 bases -- this after swiping 41 bases in 53 tries between LSU and Kannapolis in 2009.
Consequently, Mitchell didn't crack Baseball America's top 10 White Sox prospects list and averaged a No. 11 ranking among four other major prospect lists. And that's in a White Sox farm system that's generally regarded as thin.
If Mitchell is healthy, maybe these six at-bats are what we can expect: Flashes of power, impressive speed and a lot of strikeouts. And some walks, too -- to Mitchell's credit, even in his struggles last year, he walked about once every 10 trips to the plate.
The White Sox don't know if he'll start 2012 at Single-A Winston-Salem or Double-A Birmingham. A handful of spring training at-bats, no matter how impressive, shouldn't be the deciding factor in the decision of the White Sox.
But if he's healthy, sending him to Double-A could be the call.