February 25, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki (8) catches in a bullpen session during spring training at Papago Park Baseball Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Will Jermaine Mitchell See Playing Time In 2012?


The A’s will have a crowded outfield this year and that means the team will have no shortage of competition this spring. Bob Melvin and Billy Beane will have plenty of options this year to look at after Josh Willingham and David DeJesus left this winter for greener pasture. Among those vying for a spot in Oakland’s cramped outfield is former fifth-round draft pick Jermaine Mitchell.

Mitchell, who was taken in 2006 by the Athletics, is hoping to find a spot in Oakland’s outfield this season. Despite the team’s many outfielder, Mitchell does have an outside shot at making his presence felt this spring. He enjoyed plenty of success last year in the minors, posting an incredible .355/.453/.589 slash line with 10 HR and 50 RBIs in Double-A and then posting a .302/.401/.453 slash line in Triple-A Sacramento. Overall, Mitchell muscled his way to a .332/.430/.530 clip with 15 HR and 78 RBIs last year in the minors.

At 27, though, his time as a “prospect” may be coming to a close. He has the skills, as illustrated by his .530 slugging percentage, to make an impact, but the A’s are figured to plenty of candidates vying for playing time in the outfield this year. Mitchell, who is also recovering from knee surgery, will have to prove himself to the organization that he belongs in the major leagues.

Still, with last year’s .234 ISO in Double-A, what’s left to prove?

The A’s know what kind of talent Mitchell can potentially bring to the table. The power-starved A’s are obviously drawn to Mitchell’s power, so despite the arrival of Yoenis Cespedes, Seth Smith, and Josh Reddick this winter, don’t count out Mitchell this year. His injury may have an effect on his progress this spring, but it is expected that at some point, the A’s will give some playing time to the former fifth-rounder.

Jane Lee of MLB.com suggests that the A’s will likely give Mitchell a shot at playing time in the majors at some point this year. The A’s have plenty of players to audition, but one player they’re likely interested in watching this spring is named Jermaine Mitchell. Some cast doubt about Mitchell’s abilities due to his age, but as we all saw last year with Mitchell’s stellar season, his age isn’t a cause for concern.

In six minor league seasons, Mitchell has compiled a .286/.386/.429 batting clip with 49 HR and 287 RBIs. Last year was Mitchell’s breakout season in the minors. He’ll aim to have himself a breakout spring…

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