Jared Mitchell is headed home from the Arizona Fall League in a much better position than when he arrived last month.
After he posted a .304/.425/.580 line with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 87 plate appearances for the Glendale Desert Dogs, Mitchell has reemerged on the franchise radar.
The White Sox prospect bounced back from a poor regular season between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in the biggest possible way. Had he gone home for the winter, as the White Sox debated, assistant general manager Buddy Bell isn’t sure what Mitchell’s future would have in store. Now Bell believes the outfielder could make an impact on the major league roster in 2014.
“There’s a shot for him to possibly help us in the big leagues next year at some point,” Bell said. “I don’t know if we would have felt that had he just gone home.”
Mitchell, 25, had eight extra-base hits in 20 games against elite AFL competition. More important, however, he finished with 14 walks against 17 strikeouts. In 356 regular-season plate appearances Mitchell had 51 walks, 123 strikeouts and a .293 on-base percentage. Those results were a bit of a head-scratcher for the front office after Mitchell starred for the White Sox in big league camp last spring.
“We have seen glimpses of him being the best player on the field at times,” Bell said. “We knew it was in there. Versus elite competition he did well in terms of having a consistent approach. … Everybody goes through tough seasons, especially when you’re a young kid. Maybe if we let him go home it could have gotten worse.”
Bell wondered after the season what to do with Mitchell.
The White Sox had sent the 2009 first-round pick to the AFL before and he performed poorly. But Bell wanted Mitchell to regain confidence before his season ended and thought he would fare well.
As bad as the decision was a couple of years ago, this year was as good as that was bad,” Bell said. “I’m more happy for him he can go home this winter and be happy.”