Mitch Murrell’s fastball crept up to 90 miles per hour during the fall of his junior year — an accomplishment that began to draw the interest of Division I baseball programs in the region.
As he continues to grow and mature, it appears likely that the Ocean Springs standout should eventually sail well beyond that mark on the radar gun.
That impressive potential recently landed Murrell the SEC offer he had been hoping for.
He had an impressive five-inning outing during a tournament in Oxford a couple of weeks ago, convincing the Ole Miss staff to award him a scholarship offer after the game. On July 5, Murrell made public his commitment to the Rebels.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “That’s my dream to play in the SEC. To finally get that offer was awesome.”
Murrell’s fastball has reached 92 mph this summer as he competes with the East Coast Sox, playing in tournaments across the Southeast.
Long considered an up-and-coming star at Ocean Springs, it was during the summer of 2017 when head coach Brian Rea recalled seeing a significant change in Murrell before the start of his junior year of high school.
“Coming out last summer, through the fall and into the spring. We saw Mitch physically start to change,” he said. “He’s always been a big kid, but he started to get longer and leaner. With that, he had a lot more core strength. He was lifting weights and growing. The ball started coming out of his hand differently.”
In the last year and a half, Murrell has grown 3 inches to check in at 6-foot-3. As his body continues to mature, his fastball should only climb further.
“They project me to be in the mid-90’s when I get up there,” Murrell said.
Rea said that Murrell consistently stayed in the 86-87 range during his junior season, but he’s reached the 90 mark more consistently this summer. Murrell was 3-5 with a 3.94 ERA in 10 games last season at Ocean Springs, striking out 49 and walking 22 in 37 1/3 innings.
Rea sees Murrell as a late bloomer in the mold of former Greyhound Garrett Crochet, a left-hander who took off during his senior season in 2017. Crochet, who was a 34th round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers last year, is coming off his freshman season at Tennessee where he finished 5-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 17 appearances.
Murrell has already captured the attention of at least one MLB scout with the Atlanta Braves and will only draw more interest as his velocity improves
The next goal for Murrell is to work on his secondary pitches — a curve and a change-up.
“That’s where he will continue to work and make that even better,” Rea said of his curveball. “He’s got to have that for sure. Throughout the fall and the spring, he’ll continue to polish it up.
“There’s just so much potential for him all the way around. If you see him walk into the room, I’m telling you his arms are hanging down to his knees. He’s put together from the waist, down. He looks the part. He truly does.”