For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, the Philadelphia Phillies decided to not play it safe as it pertains to their first-round approach in the MLB Draft as they nabbed high school hurler Mick Abel at No. 15 overall on Wednesday night. First-year scouting director Brian Barber clearly went with upside here, and that's commendable when you consider that the club hasn't dipped into the high school pool for a few years.
The Oregon State commit was definitely a surprise selection, but his potential is undeniable. For Phillies fans that don't know much about Abel, let's dive into some facts that will get them excited for what the future holds.
3. He Throws a Two-Seam Fastball
The last time we checked, most high school pitchers have trouble commanding their four-seam fastball. The fact that Abel throws a two-seamer and appears to have it under his complete control is remarkably impressive. Just look at the movement and placement on that pitch. It's better to go down swinging than looking, but the opposing hitter didn't stand a chance at making contact there. It's so filthy that it can almost be misinterpreted as a sinker.
2. His Four-Seam Reached 100 MPH in Pre-Draft Bullpens
We know that Abel won't be throwing triple digits in games right out of the gates, but it's still noteworthy that he has it in him. To start, his fastball will probably consistently clock out in the mid-90s, but he's also just 18 years old, so expect his velocity to increase as he makes his way through the Phillies farm system. Did we mention that Abel is 6-5 and 198 pounds and might not be finished growing?
1. His Slider is Somehow Better Than His Fastball
For as buzz much as his fastball received leading up to the MLB Draft, it's Abel's slider that makes him such an intriguing prospect. Folks, a raw 18-year-old hurler just shouldn't be allowed to boast that much life on his slider. You have to assume that it will only become more lethal as he adds strength in the weight room and works with the Phillies coaching staff to increase his spin rate. Fans in the City of Brotherly Love should be stoked with this selection.