The Top 20 Cubs Prospects - #15 Mitch Atkins
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Prospect #15 Mitch Atkins
Mitch Atkins, who was selected in the 7th round of the 2004 amateur draft, is probably the first Cub on our list prospects list who will almost certainly see time in the Major Leagues before too much longer. He's been a part of the farm system for parts of 5 seasons now, and he's gone from having mundane performances to divine ones.
In his rookie year in 2004, Atkins pitched in 10 games - he started 8 - and he was demolished. In 29.2 IP, he allowed 26 earned runs. A very auspicious start. But maybe he just had a little bit of growing to do, because within a few years he was posting respectable numbers while continuing his ascention into the higher levels of minor league ball.
His best season is probably 2006, when at the age of 20 he went 13-4 in 25 games started with an ERA of 2.40 and 127 SO's in 138.2 IP. Although it's hard to ignore his 2008 season, in which between AA and AAA he combined to go 17-7 in 164.1 IP with 132 SO, 50 BB, and an ERA of 4.00.
Atkins brings the following to the table:
- A selection including a low 90's fastball, along with a curveball and changeup
- Better efficiency than control or stuff. Although a positive regarding his strikeout ability is that it improved from Tennessee to Iowa, and his Triple A average - 7.29 is close to his total minor league average. This is important to note because many pitchers do well with strikeouts at the lower level, but put up poorer numbers once they reach the upper echelon.
- Poor defensive skills. Atkins will not be the next 18-time Gold Glover, should he have a Major League career which lasts that long.
Some minor league enthusiasts project him as being a top 10 prospect, and it might be fair to say that he's better than 15th overall, but the one thing working against him is that he's likely to be average-at-best.
Assuming he doesn't regress, Atkins will probably see some time in a Cubs uniform in 2009, either as a reliever or late season call-up. He projects to be a back-end starter at best, but he may be a competent middle reliever should it come to that.
Odds of Reaching the Majors = It snows in Chicago on Christmas
Odds of becoming a successful Major Leaguer = it snows in Chicago in late May
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