Tampa Bay Rays take high upside 17-year-old RHP with first pick

Tampa Bay Rays Logo (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Rays Logo (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays have selected Nick Bitsko with their first pick of the 2020 draft.

The Tampa Bay Rays held the 24th pick of the 2020 MLB Draft and they used it to take a high upside 17-year-old who made only three high school starts this season. The kid is 6-4, 225 pounds and is well ahead of schedule in development.

How good is he? When he announced he’d be graduating early, he immediately became one of the top prospects for this year’s draft. MLB.com rated him as the 14th-best prospect in the draft, and he’s just 17-years-old.

Bitsko’s fastball can already reach 96-97 mph on the radar gun and scouts foresee it climbing higher. At his young age, he already possesses an above-average fastball and slider.

Tampa Bay Rays – Smartest Team in Baseball

During the draft, Kiley McDaniel pointed out that he thought the Rays were the most well-run team in baseball. He used this pick to point to their use of analytics. Without really seeing much of Bitsko due to the pandemic, the Rays were confident enough in their analysis and his metrics that they thought he had the upside of a stud right-handed pitcher.

Tampa Bay Rays – Nick Bitsko: The Hitter

Bitsko has also made it known that he intends to keep swinging the bat until someone makes him put it down. There’s no doubt that his bread and butter is his pitching, but he was hitting .450 with five homers in the shortened season of 2020.

There’s a good chance the Rays will tell him to put the bat down.

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At age 15, Bitsko was already hitting 90 on the radar. He’s a natural. There’s no telling where the kid will be in two or three years. His upside is through the roof, and not the roof of a mobile home, but a skyscraper.