Though he’s not as sure about the first time, Buddy Bell has no doubts about having Jared Mitchell play in the Arizona Fall League this month.
Coming off a down season, Bell would like for Mitchell to go home for the offseason with a good feeling after a difficult year.
Mitchell, who also played in the AFL in 2010, had a .167/.293/.257 line with five homers, 23 RBIs and 123 strikeouts in 356 plate appearances between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham this season.
“Finish on a positive note,” Bell said. “Going into this AFL you can sort of throw the season away ... There were stretches where he was better but he just can’t stay with a consistent approach. He’s still got some growing pains. Sometimes the game gets fast for him and he tries to slow it down so much that he gets unaggressive.”
A former first-round pick, Mitchell had perhaps his “cleanest” season in terms of health in 2013, per Bell. The last time Mitchell played in the Arizona Fall League he had missed the entire regular season after he tearing the tendon on the inside of his left ankle in spring training.
Bell expressed some regrets about asking Mitchell, the 23rd overall pick in June 2009 out of Louisiana State University, to play in the AFL after he hadn’t been on the field in seven months. Mitchell, who turns 25 on Sunday, finished with a .439 OPS in 24 games that fall.
I don’t think sending him to AFL a couple of years ago was good choice,” Bell said. “How much that set him back I don’t know. But I don’t think I’d make it again.”