With the 24th overall pick in the 2020 Major League Draft, the Tampa Bay Rays drafted local product RHP Nick Bitsko out of Central Bucks East High School.
“He came to me as a freshman already committed to college so again you know that you have something really good,” Central Bucks East head coach Kyle Dennis told SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Joe Giglio last Friday.
“He has just impressed me every step of the way with how he carries himself. He is just an incredible baseball player instinctually, he gets how to play the game. It has just been absolutely fun to see him grow and develop.”
Bitsko, who is still just 17-years-old, reclassified into this year’s draft class in January so that he could gauge interest around the league and decide whether or not to attend the University of Virginia or turn pro. According to MLB.com, Bitsko was the No. 14 ranked prospect in this year’s draft class.
He is the second high school pitcher to go in the first round of this year’s draft, after Philadelphia Phillies draftee Mick Abel.
Despite being one of the younger members of the draft class, Bitsko has some incredible stuff and shows maturity. He has tremendous upside and was considered one of the best high school prospects in the draft class, making this a worthy risk by the Rays.
A big reason for the potential concern around Bitsko is that he threw just 33 innings in his time at CB East and did not pitch this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bitsko is highly regarded for his electric fastball, which sits 92 to 97 mph and touched 98.5 mph in a recent video, and high spin rate. His curveball that is considered to be a plus pitch, and he is developing a changeup and a slider.
“He definitely has the fastball and the spin rate is ridiculous and is an unbelievable pitch. He does have secondary pitches but doesn’t have to regularly use them,” Dennis said. “We play in a very very tough conference with a lot of very talented teams so he did have to use those pitches but certainly for a lot of the (other) lineups, he could get by with just the fastball.
Bitsko has the ability to move through the Rays minor league system and reach the majors quickly because of his skillset and be a front of the rotation arm. He is very consistent with throwing strikes and working the strike zone to his advantage with his 6-foot-4 frame.
He is the second player to be drafted in the first round from Pennsylvania, joining West Allegheny outfielder Austin Hendrick, who was drafted No. 12 overall by the Cinnicannti Reds. Bitsko is 14th player to be drafted in the first round from Pennsylvania since 2010 according to MaxPreps.com.
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