What to know about Rays top pick Nick Bitsko

June 11th, 2020

Here are 10 things to know about prep right-hander Nick Bitsko, whom the Rays selected with the 24th overall pick in the 2020 Draft on Wednesday night.

• Bitsko, 17, announced in January that he would be graduating from Central Bucks East (Pennsylvania) High School early, making him eligible for the Draft. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander has a fastball that sits in the 92 mph-96 mph range, a good curveball and a developing changeup.

According to MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo, at least one scout sees Bitsko becoming a Justin Verlander-like pitcher if he reaches his ceiling.

• Bitsko's father, Nick Bitsko Sr., played college football at the University of Delaware.

• Bitsko is a fan of analytics, and has been digging into his numbers with respect to spin rate, vertical and horizontal break, and other metrics.

• Bitsko verbally committed to the University of Virginia for 2021, pending the results of the Draft, so he now will have a decision to make about joining the Cavaliers or signing with the Rays.

• Off the field, Bitsko has volunteered locally with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and has completed multiple service-mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

• Bitsko will be a pitcher at the professional level, but he told The Intelligencer he wants to "try to keep hitting until someone says, ‘Put the bat down.'" On his Instagram page, he has some short videos of him hitting, and he certainly looks the part. He hit .450 with a 1.416 OPS and five home runs for Central Bucks East.

• Though Bitsko's season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, scouts have seen plenty of him, including during his time with the USA National Team Development Program the last two seasons. Bitsko was named a 2020 Perfect Game Preseason All-American and was also recently named the 2019-20 Gatorade Player of the Year for Pennsylvania.

• He has excelled at every major showcase event he's pitched in, but Bitsko was particularly sharp at the East Coast Pro showcase last summer, touching 97 mph with his fastball.

• Three months after his 15th birthday, Bitsko was hitting 90 mph with his fastball. He's added seven mph in the last three years.

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