NEW YORK — The University of Pittsburgh saw its third pitcher selected in the 2017 MLB First Year Player Draft Wednesday, as big lefty Josh Mitchell was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 22nd round (660th overall).
Mitchell, a 2013 Ridgway graduate, became the 10th pitcher drafted from the Panthers since Pitt joined the ACC prior to the 2014 season. He is the fifth Panther in program history to be drafted by the Kansas City Royals, the first since Eric Ackerman was taken in the 16th round of the 2002 draft.
“This is truly a dream come true, and something that I have been striving for since I was able to walk and throw a baseball,” said Mitchell. “Being able to say that I am now a professional baseball player, gives me chills, and it is something I will never take for granted.
“Baseball has been great to me to this point, and I am looking forward to seeing what the future has in store.”
Mitchell assumed a starting role in his third season with the Panthers, earning a record of 1-5 in 16 starts with a 4.61 ERA. He threw 70.1 innings, allowing 36 earned runs off 86 hits and 22 walks, fanning 65 batters.
“Josh has the ability to be very good at the professional level,” added head coach Joe Jordano. “He has as good a stuff as anyone. I am looking forward to watching his professional career develop.”
Mitchell owns a career record of 1-10 with a 4.95 ERA. The leftie has thrown 103.2 innings, allowing 57 earned runs off 124 hits and 41 walks, fanning 91 and allowing opponents a .297 average.
Mitchell was one of Tri-County Area’s most dominant pitchers when he was in high school along with Johnsonburg’s Cole Peterson and Elk County Catholic’s Brandon Schlimm.
Ironically, Peterson, a junior shortstop at St. Bonaventure, also was drafted on Wednesday and was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 13th round (395th overall). Schlimm just wrapped up his junior season as a pitcher at Bonaventure.
As a senior at Ridgway, Mitchell went 5-2 on an Elkers squad that finished the season with a 10-8 record. He allowed just nine total runs (4 earned) in 35 innings to post an area-best 0.80 ERA that season.
He recorded 68 strikeouts (4th in area), 10 walks, one save and tossed three complete-games, including one shutout. The one shutout was a one-hitter against A-C Valley in the opening round of the D-9 Class A playoffs, a game in which he struck out 17 and walked none.
Offensively, Mitchell ranked first in the area in home runs (8), second in RBIs (24) and third in batting average (.468, 22-for-47). He also hit five doubles, one triple and scored 19 runs.