The 18-year-old right-hander Mick Abel finds himself in a group of three high school arms atop the 2020 draft class. The product of Jesuit, Oregon is a slight notch above Jared Kelley and Nick Bitsko as the 11th-best prospect according to MLB.com. At 6’5″ 190 he is the tallest player ranked inside of the MLB’s top 40 draft prospect rankings. This young and lively arm has a real chance at being the cream of the crop in this year’s draft with the dimensions he offers.
Abel has the type of arm that you can only find in the top half of the first round if you’re looking for a pitcher. Scouts graded his fastball highest with a superior score (60) as the pitch typically comes in between 93-95 MPH. According to Perfect Game, Abel has a FB Velocity of 97 placing him in the 99.94th percentile for his class.
Something that speaks volumes about Abel across the board is his maturity at the age of 18. His pitch arsenal shows a lot of versatility and potential for growth as somebody who already throws four pitches. Arguably his most impressive asset might be his slider that was graded top of the line by scouts (55). Throwing it between 82-86 MPH, the sky is the limit for this strikeout pitch.
The repertoire mixes in a quality changeup (55) and a decent curveball (50) which has the early makeup for a devastating pitch arsenal once polished. The Oregon State commit was already voted by scouts as having the best breaking pitch in his high school class thanks to the slider.
Look, the flaws are much tougher to point out for a guy with the type of makeup as Abel. Obviously, weight is the first thing people will point to as a reason for concern given he is 6’5″ already. But when you dig deeper, he has already gone up 18 pounds after a solid offseason in the weight room. This shows promise for putting on muscle in the future if he continues to hit the weights.
Now if you’re comparing him solely to the big-three prep arms of this class, there becomes more of a conversation. Jared Kelley generally has a better fastball and more velocity. Meanwhile, Nick Bitsko has the strongest curveball of the bunch. However, when you combine the overall repertoire and experience of the three, Abel gets the edge.
The reality is, there are very few weaknesses to point towards in Abel’s profile even with how young he is. When taking a look at his tape, there is two top of the line names that come to mind immediately. These are perennial Cy Young contenders that leave Abel with massive shoes to fill in the future.
The most obvious is Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves who has a dominating slider with a 6’5″ frame. Soroka relies heavily on his 83 MPH slider while throwing a fastball in the mid-90s along with an 81 MPH changeup. Their easy deliveries are reminiscent of one another coming from a long arm slot. There’s also last year’s World Series MVP, once again at 6’5″, Stephen Strasburg. The former number one overall pick out of San Diego State always stood out because of his live arm and off-speed pitches.
Although he is not going number one, Mick Abel has the opportunity to carve out a Strasburg-type career in the MLB. This is one of the most polished arms in the entire class of 2020 and stands right up there with the best collegiate arms in the nation.
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