Tampa Bay Rays News: First-round pick Nick Bitsko signed a $3,000,000 contract with the Rays on Tuesday evening.
The Tampa Bay Rays made the call that most teams knew they should have on draft night. They selected a then 17-year-old player who had never played beyond his sophomore season in high school.
Nick Bitsko had not had a chance to play in his junior year due to the pandemic, then he announced he would be graduating high school early, making him draft eligible.
Assuming he would return to high school and pitch in his senior season, he was already pegged as a potential number one pick of the 2021 draft. The Rays trusted their analytics on the kid and you have to imagine there were a lot of teams kicking themselves for not being the one to take Bitsko.
Prior to the draft, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel suggested that we could see Bitsko go in the first ten picks of the 2020 draft. He profiled him as potentially the highest-upside arm in the lot. MLB.com had him ranked as the 14th-best prospect in the draft.
The Rays got him 24th and they paid him over slot value. Bitsko earned a $3,000,000 signing bonus. The allocated slot value was $2,830,000 for the 24th pick.
We currently have Bitsko ranked as the Rays’ third-best pitching prospect in a very deep system.
"Tampa Bay Rays: Updated Top 10 Pitching Prospects"
Tampa Bay Rays – Nick Bitsko Scouting Report
These numbers are absolutely insane for a kid who has never even pitched as a high school sophomore. Scouts are saying he owns a plus fastball, plus curveball, and above-average control compared to major leaguers. Basically, scouts think he could be a functional pitcher in the big leagues despite never pitching beyond the 10th grade in high school. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around this.
Tampa Bay Rays Updated Pitching Prospects – (overall grade in parenthesis)
- Brendan McKay (60)
- Shane Baz (60)
- Nick Bitsko (55)
- Brent Honeywell (55)
- Shane McClanahan (50)
- Joe Ryan (50)
- J.J. Goss (50)
- Seth Johnson (45)
- Riley O’Brien (45)
- Peter Fairbanks (45)
Where would you rank Bitsko? Let us know in the comments below!