By all accounts, Kevin Mitchell had all of the tools to become a baseball superstar. Mitchell started his career as a New York Met and ended his rookie season batting .277 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. This was enough to finish in 3rd place for the league’s Rookie of the Year award and Mitchell had started to become a star in NY.
In his 5th full season, as a member of the San Francisco Giants, Mitchell displayed his offensive dominance and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Mitchell hit 47 home runs, drove in 125 runs, and batted .291. Beating out players like Ryne Sandberg and teammate Will Clark elevated Mitchell’s status as one of the game’s greatest players during the late 1980’s.
Mitchell followed up his MVP season with another solid season in San Francisco and then things started to turn against him. Mitchell had averaged a respectable 132 games per season over the course of his first 6 years in the big leagues. Soon after, injury caught up to him and he was only able to average 70 games per year over his last 6 seasons in the majors.
Despite playing in less than 1/2 of his team’s games during the 2nd half of his career, Mitchell still put up impressive numbers. In 95 games in 1994 with the Reds, Kevin hit .326 while blasting 30 home runs with 77 RBI. This was good enough to garner enough votes to finish 9th in the MVP race and he missed close to half of the season.
This really makes me wonder how impressive Mitchell’s stats would be if he had played in 80% of his team’s games. At the end of his career, Mitchell finished with a .284 batting average and hit 234 home runs with 760 RBI. His numbers could have been much closer to the .300/350/1000 totals in my opinion.