Athletic Mitchell striving for consistent results
White Sox prospect slowed by injuries, unpredictable performance
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jared Mitchell was disappointed when he didn't get called up from Triple-A Charlotte last September. The 26-year-old outfielder had that same level of disappointment when outrighted off the White Sox 40-man-roster to Charlotte in late November.
But in the highly competitive world of professional sports, if played right, disappointment often becomes motivation. That idea represents Mitchell's thinking as the team's top pick from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft goes through Spring Training as a non-roster invite.
"I took it as disappointment and then kind of like straight to, 'Now that's your motivation.' That helps prepare you for where you need to be," Mitchell said. "If you take it the right way, take it in stride and use it as motivation, it can springboard me into a really good year this year.
"I'm looking forward to the year. I'm really excited about where I'm at and trying to keep working to get better every day."
Mitchell has not found an easy professional road since being taken 23rd overall out of LSU. He missed the entire 2010 season after tearing a tendon in his left ankle during a Cactus League contest.
After a strong Spring Training in 2013 seemed to help him turn the corner, Mitchell combined to hit only .167 with a .293 on-base percentage over stops at Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham that ensuing season. One of the problems with the left-handed hitter seemed to be finding and sticking with a consistent approach at the plate, but after being sent down to Birmingham from Charlotte last season, something seemed to click in a demotion Mitchell turned into a positive.
His average jumped to .299 with 10 homers, five doubles and three triples with the Barons, and he finished with nine multi-hit efforts after coming back to Charlotte on Aug. 3. The athleticism never has been a problem for Mitchell, who also played football at LSU.
"Mitch's issue is that he has a different feel every day," said White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell. "He's got to trust what he can do, but certainly athletically, there's nobody better. He's as athletic as anyone we have."
Bell acknowledged that Mitchell should feel good coming off of his 2014 finish and hopes he takes that same approach this season. He agrees with Mitchell that some of his recent travails should be taken as incentive to succeed, rather than taken as something personal.
There's a feeling within Mitchell that even after these struggles, he still can help the White Sox at the big league level at some point.
"I wouldn't be here right now if I didn't feel that way," Mitchell said. "I'm in a good situation. It's a grind. I'm going to have to go out there and prove it every day. I'm going to do what I can to open eyes and make decisions hard. Keep pushing and pushing the envelope."