California is known as a hotbed for prep baseball talent. Earlier this year, four prep players from the state got selected in the first-round of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft, including outfielder Mickey Moniak, who was the No. 1 overall pick by Philadelphia.
Although the 2017 draft is six months away, the state of California will likely produce another deep crop of high ceiling prep talent with first-round potential. One of those players is outfielder Calvin Mitchell.
A San Diego, Calif. native, Mitchell is one of the most advanced bats in the prep class. Hitting from the left side, Mitchell has a smooth swing and is known for consistently putting the ball in play, while using the entire field.
Due to his skills and potential, Baseball America ranks Mitchell as the 12th-best prep prospect in the 2017 draft class. Despite his name getting tossed around in early draft chatter, Mitchell isn’t worried about other peoples’ expectations.
“I try to stay away from reading articles about the draft or reading lists about who the top guys are,” Mitchell said. “I really want to focus on my expectations and what I want to do. Anybody who wants me to do other stuff that’s great. But when I’m on the field performing, I’m just thinking about what my goals are.”
Mitchell’s primary goal is to lead his high school team to a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship this season. While he hopes to have personal success along the way, he understands it might be a bit harder than in year’s past because of the possibility of getting pitched around.
“I got to be selective with the pitches I do get,” Mitchell said. “I have to hit the ball where it’s pitch. I’ve got to add power to the left-centerfield gap more often this year because I’ll get more pitches out there. I have to take advantage of mistakes.
“I want to help my team win as much as I can and when they take the bat out of my hands, it’s frustrating.”
During the off-season, Mitchell participated in the Area Code Games, Perfect Game All-American Classic and for Team USA. When he wasn’t on the field performing, he was dedicating his time to improving his arm strength by using a long toss program he and his father found online.
Mitchell’s father, who played baseball collegiately at Fresno State, has had a major impact on son’s baseball career so far, Mitchell said.
“He’s been the biggest piece (in my baseball career),” Mitchell said of his father. “Growing up I had coaches who helped me, and I had private hitting coaches on occasions. But through all the years, the one who has influence me as a player and person in the most is my dad.”
Due to his father’s experience playing college baseball, Mitchell has gone to him for advice regarding the next phase of his career. While Mitchell will get drafted into pro ball out of high school, he’s also committed to the University of San Diego to continue his education and baseball career, beginning in fall 2017.
Mitchell isn’t worried about what the future has in store, but he knows when June rolls around, he’ll have a difficult decision to make.
“There really is no bad option come June,” Mitchell said. “Either I sign a contract or go play great baseball at USD. I’m not nervous about anything. I know I have a great path either way.”
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