William Douglas Mitchell, Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 160 lb.
- School Clemson University
- High School North Forsyth High School
- Debut May 1, 2012
- Born May 13, 1987 in Winston-Salem, NC USA
Mitchell played baseball and basketball in high school. He was three-time All-Conference in baseball. Going on to Clemson University, he hit .289/.369/.322 as a backup right fielder and he stole 8 bases in 11 tries. He started all three games of the 2006 College World Series. He helped the Thomasville HiToms win the Coastal Plain League title that summer. He scored 15 runs in 21 games and had a 2.25 ERA as a reliever. In the championship game, he got the start on the hill and won, allowing one run and two hits in five innings.
D.J. struggled as a part-time outfielder in 2007 (.208/.280.292, 8 steals in 11 tries again) but did well on the mound (5-0, 3.27), signaling a switch of roles. With the Bourne Braves that summer, he had a 1-2, 1.47 record and 58 strikeouts in 49 innings. He led the prestigious Cape Cod League in strikeouts (3 ahead of runner-up Dan Hudson) and was 4th in ERA (trailing Aaron Crow, Kyle Gibson and Andy Oliver). On the league All-Star team, he joined Crow, Gibson, Tom Milone and Eddie Burns. Baseball America rated him as the loop's #22 prospect, between Brett Jacobson and Jason Castro.
As a junior, he went 6-5 with a 3.47 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 20 appearances in 2008. It was the highest strikeout total by a Clemson hurler since Kris Benson 12 years prior. Mitchell made first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (he was 4th in the ACC in Ks).
He was then selected by the Yankees in the tenth round of the 2008 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Scott Lovekamp for a $450,000 bonus but did not play professionally that season due to a muscle strain. He made his pro debut the following summer with the Charleston RiverDogs, going 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 6 starts before being transferred to the Tampa Yankees in May. With Tampa the remainder of the year, he went 8-6 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 outings for the club. He tied Lance Pendleton for second in the Yankees chain in wins (behind David Phelps), was second in strikeouts (125, behind Pendleton) and was 4th in ERA. He helped Tampa win the Florida State League title.
Mitchell spent most of 2010 with the Trenton Thunder, posting an 11-4 record and a 4.06 ERA there. In August, he was promoted to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, for whom he was 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 3 late-season starts. He allowed 3 earned runs in five innings in a postseason start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and got a no-decision. He was back with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the entire next season, going 13-9 with a 3.18 ERA in 28 games. He led the 2011 International League with 2 shutouts and tied Zach McAllister for the league lead with 3 complete games. He also was 2nd in the IL in wins (two behind leader Julio Teheran) and 5th in ERA (between Alexander Torres and Milone). He led Yankee farmhands in wins and was 3rd in ERA. He was named the Yankees Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Teheran was named the IL All-Star starting pitcher.
After making 4 starts at the AAA level to begin 2012 (2-1, 3.13), he was called up to the majors by New York in late April to replace Cody Eppley. He made his big league debut on May 1st, facing the Baltimore Orioles, entering with a 7-1 deficit in the 9th. He began by striking out J.J. Hardy. Nick Markakis singled but Mitchell got Adam Jones to hit into a force out. Matt Wieters singled but was out trying for a double to end Mitchell's scoreless inning of relief. After one more appearance two days later, he was sent back down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to clear a spot for Dewayne Wise.