With the MLB Draft just three months away we will start to take a look at a potential first round picks for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today, we start with pitcher Mick Abel.
As we all know the Pittsburgh Pirates had a pretty rough 2019 season finishing with 69 wins. As a result of that poor season and the second worst record in the National League, the Pirates are picking 7th overall this year in the MLB Draft. This is the highest pick since 2011 when they picked Gerrit Cole 1st overall.
Now, in years past, we started to see a pattern with the old regime in picking up high school prep arms and molding them in the farm system one name that comes to mind Jameson Tailion. With new general manager Ben Cherington, it is unclear as to what he will do. However, one thing is certain with Cherington keeping the Pirates head of scouting we may see this trend of high school arms continue.
If you’re looking for at high school arms, there may be none better than Mick Abel this year. Abel is a tall, lanky, projectable individual standing 6’5″ and weighing in at around 185 pounds. Abel is an Oregon native, and he attended Jesuit High School in Tigard, Oregon. During his junior year, Abel earned himself Oregon Player of the Year with an impressive 9-0 record and a 1.34 ERA.
The hard throwing 18-year-old has all the tools to become an excellent starting pitcher someday with an explosive fastball consistently sitting in the 93-95MPH range. His slider is considered to be an elite pitch ranging in the 82-84 MPH zone with swing and miss potential. In an article written by Sung Min Kim of FanGraphs, he noted, “When he adds some weight, I can see him having an A.J. Burnett-esque build”. Burnett, of course, is someone Pirate fans know well.
Like most 18-year-olds, Abel does not come without his flaws. Although Abel’s delivery is seamless and he delivers with ease, he does have control issues as the game goes on. With this inconsistency in control comes a drop in velocity, as noted by Kim of FanGraphs in his report on the U-18 World Cup report.
Abel, as of now, has a solid two-pitch approach with his fastball and slider with a developing change up. If the Pirates pull the trigger on Abel, it will be interesting to see how Cherington and the rest of the development team capitalizes on his talent and molds him into the pitcher the experts think he can be. Although Abel is a verbal commit to Oregon State, he is expected to sign after the draft as he is currently projected to be a top 10 pick.