ST. PETERSBURG -- Nick Bitsko, the Rays’ first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, underwent surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday to repair a labrum issue. The surgery was performed by Dr. David W. Altchek and went well.
Bitsko initially experienced soreness during his remote training, which resulted in the organization shutting down the No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. After rest and shoulder strengthening exercises, the right-hander felt initial relief but the discomfort remained after he resumed throwing. After some discussion, the Rays and Bitsko decided to look into the procedure.
Bitsko was one of the most interesting picks in the Draft and is a player who is believed to have one of the highest ceilings in the Draft class. Despite being just 18 years old, he already has the ability to reach 98 mph, a big factor in his decision to reclassify to the 2020 class. As a freshman and sophomore in high school, Bitsko went a combined 4-2 with a 1.27 ERA and 68 strikeouts. He won Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in Pennsylvania in ‘19 and was also named a Perfect Game Preseason All-American in '20.
Though the Rays expect Bitsko to be back at 100 percent after the surgery, the right-hander will miss part of the 2021 season, creating some concern due to the fact that he won’t pitch in a competitive game in two years. Despite that, the organization remains optimistic that Bitsko will be able to pitch at some level in '21 and showcase why he’s one of the best pitching prospects in baseball.