What the Phillies are getting with 1st-round pick Mick Abel

Phillies' first-round draft pick, Mick Abel.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Phillies need help in their rotation behind Aaron Nola.

Mick Abel isn’t an immediate answer, but he has the makings to provide a big boost to Philadelphia’s starting staff down the road. 

The Phillies selected the 18-year-old right-hander out of Jesuit High School in Oregon with the 15th-overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday night, making it the first time since 2014 that the organization took a pitcher with their first pick.

The last arm they took in the first round? Nola in 2014. 

At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, Abel’s somewhat-lanky frame allows him to create the kind of momentum that helps create plus-stuff on his pitches.

When it comes to comparing him to recent MLB pitchers, there are a few avenues that could be taken. 

He has the stride and approach toward the plate of AJ Burnett, who carved out a 17-year career in the majors. The followthrough and whip that he puts on the pitch, however, is reminiscent of Justin Verlander — especially during the earlier portions of his career with the Detroit Tigers. 

There is also a sort of violence that comes with his delivery — along with that lanky frame — that brings a hint of Chris Sale to the mix, albeit from a right-hander’s perspective. 

Despite still being in high school, he has already developed three really good pitches: a fastball that averages between 93-95 mph — but can touch 97 — a lively slider ranging between 82-86 mph, and a curveball with 12-6 action.

At times, those two secondary pitches blend — which is something he’ll need to work on — but the foundation for a special arsenal is already there. Especially if he can develop his changeup in the Phillies’ system. 

This is a young arm that knows how to pitch, who just so happens to be a hard thrower. It’s a much better approach taken by the Phillies rather than taking a hard thrower that needs major development on his secondary stuff. 

“Our scouts were in unanimous agreement, he’s a potential future workhouse and dominating presence at the top of the rotation,” Phillies scouting director Brian Barber said (h/t Jim Salisbury, NBCS). We like everything about him.”

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