PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates appeared to be betting on upside and past performance as they selected high school outfielder Calvin Mitchell in the second round of the MLB Draft on Monday night.Mitchell, 18, was chosen 50th overall out of Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) High School, the same school Pirates starter Trevor
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates appeared to be betting on upside and past performance as they selected high school outfielder Calvin Mitchell in the second round of the MLB Draft on Monday night.
Mitchell, 18, was chosen 50th overall out of Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) High School, the same school Pirates starter Trevor Williams, Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels and former big leaguer Hank Blalock attended.
"We're excited to have an opportunity to work with Calvin," Pirates director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said. "He has some real quality traits in that batter's box, slowing the game down. Quite frankly, we think he's a good hitter."
• Pirates' 12th overall pick: Shane Baz
• Pirates' 42nd overall: Steve Jennings
• Pirates' 72nd overall: Conner Uselton
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
MLBPipeline.com ranked the 6-foot, 191-pound Mitchell as the No. 79 prospect in this year's Draft. He might have been more highly regarded last summer, but an approach change this spring reportedly altered his performance at the plate and dropped him down some teams' Draft boards.
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While Mitchell struggled to begin the season, he finished the year batting .369 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs. He has committed to play at the University of San Diego. When asked by the San Diego Union-Tribune if he had decided between going to college or beginning his professional career, Mitchell told the newspaper, "I want to go out and play."
"I can finally take a breath," Mitchell told the Union-Tribune. "There was a lot of pressure, a lot of anxiety, a lot of nervous days. I'm just happy to be selected."
The lefty-swinging Mitchell hit well last summer and played enough for Team USA to be considered one of the better high school bats in the country. He hit the ball to all fields and showed plus power, but fell into a pull-heavy approach this spring, perhaps in an attempt to display more power in games. That led to more swings and misses, however, and took away some of his opposite-field success.
The Pirates followed Mitchell from summer ball through the spring, DelliCarri said, and didn't see anything in his swing that lessened their opinion of him.
"Our scouts did a very good job consistently staying with Calvin," DelliCarri said. "Our vantage point is Calvin's pretty consistent. I can only go off what we believe and what we've seen staying with Cal. I wouldn't share as strongly, or as strongly as that may have come across, that he fell down in any way for us."
The 50th overall pick comes with a slot value of $1,357,300, part of the Pirates' overall pool of $10,135,900, the seventh-highest figure in this year's Draft. The signing bonuses for a team's selection in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, apply toward the bonus-pool total, according to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If a team surpasses its allotment, it must pay a penalty.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.