The Tampa Bay Rays have signed right-handed pitcher Nick Bitsko, the No. 24 overall selection from the 2020 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Bitsko, 18, went a combined 4-2 with a 1.27 ERA (33-IP, 6-ER) and 68 strikeouts over his freshman and sophomore high school seasons, and entered the 2020 season as Pennsylvania’s reigning Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year and a Perfect Game preseason All-American. He was ranked among the Top 20 overall players in this year’s draft by several publications: No. 14 by MLB.com, No. 15 by ESPN.com, No. 16 by FanGraphs, No. 18 by The Athletic and No. 19 by Baseball America.
In January, he announced his decision to graduate from high school early, making him eligible for this year’s June Draft. His final high school season was scheduled to begin in April but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of his reclassification, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in their 2021 high school draft rankings.
Rays Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Rob Metzler:
Nick is an exceptionally talented young man and we are thrilled to have him in the Rays organization. We identified him last summer as an elite power starting pitching prospect. Nick’s physical attributes—size, arm action, delivery and athleticism—paired with an advanced maturity and professional focus, should give him a great chance to compete his way through the system. This was a unique situation with a high school arm who didn’t get on the mound this season. We are very thankful for the work of Zach Clark (area scout) and Brian Hickman (regional supervisor) amongst many within the amateur scouting department that put us in position to make this selection.
Bitsko signed for $3 million, just over the slot value. You can follow the draft signing details at our tracker here.
There will be a COVID-19 Related IL with no minimum or maximum length of placement. A player may be placed on that list based on a positive COVID-19 test, confirmed exposure, or if a player exhibits symptoms requiring self- isolation for further assessment.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) June 24, 2020
TV broadcasters are not expected to travel, so home team will provide feed. Must guarantee it's a neutral feed, giving equal airtime to both sides. Radio broadcasters are permitted to attend road games.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 24, 2020
One more wrinkle that isn't finalized:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 23, 2020
MLB still debating whether to let teams sign players to minor-league contracts
Those players wouldn't count against 40-man big-league rosters but would count against 60-player pools
This would cause massive opt-outs 5 days before openers!
what idiot decided to call it spring training 2.0 instead of summer camp— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) June 24, 2020
jeff— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 24, 2020