The MLB Draft is a few short weeks away. Let’s take a peek at one of the players sure to be on the Cincinnati Reds radar; high school pitcher Mick Abel.
Mick Abel, who committed to Oregon State University, may still be on the board when the Cincinnati Reds select 12th in the upcoming MLB Draft. With the draft now shortened to just five rounds, it’s imperative that small-market clubs like the Reds make the most of their picks. Abel offers high-risk, but also high-reward.
Any time you take a high school player, you run the risk of that player spurning you and honoring their commitment to play college baseball. While that risk is there, it’d be hard for Abel to pass up the money being thrown at him should the Reds select the 18-year-old with the No. 12 overall pick.
The bigger risk may be selecting a high school pitcher. Most high school pitchers have not made a big splash at the major league level. According to Baseball America, more and more teams of late have transitioned to taking college players over high school prep stars. Obviously there are exceptions, and perhaps Abel is one of them.
Mick Abel, like most highly sought after prep pitchers, has no problem reaching the upper-90s on the radar gun. Abel also has a decent slider that sits in the mid-80s. At just 18-years old, this young pitcher could be exactly what Kyle Boddy, Cincinnati’s new Minor League Director of Pitching Initiatives/Pitching Coordinator, is looking for.
According to MLB.com, Abel ranks 11th among all draft eligible players and is the highest-rated high school pitcher available. Behind him is right-hander Jared Kelley from Texas and Nick Bitsko from Pennsylvania. Kelley has a more mature physique than that of Abel, but the right-hander from Oregon is expected to grow into his 6’5″ frame.
We’ve seen the Cincinnati Reds select high school pitchers in the first round before. In 2017, Hunter Greene was taken No. 2 out of Notre Dame High School in California. Robert Stephenson went No. 27 overall back in 2011. However, Cincinnati also saw the error of the ways in taking a high school arm with the selection of Nick Travieso in 2012 with the 14th pick.
Taking a high school pitcher in the first round is always risky. Heck, taking any pitcher is always risky due to the concern over injuries. Perhaps Cincinnati avoids an arm in the first-round, but if they’re looking for a good one, Mick Abel certainly fits the bill.