High school pitcher Nick Bitsko offers a lot of potential, but a lot of risk as well. He may be around when the Oakland A’s make their first selection.
Nick Bitsko had been on the radar for major league teams last year. A power pitcher who stands at 6’4″ tall and weighs 220 pounds in high school, Bistko just oozed potential. However, he was expected to graduate for the 2021 MLB Draft, so while scouts had been keeping an eye on him, he was not as important a target as some other players who would be drafted this year.
Well…about that… It turns out that Bitsko is going to graduate high school early, making him eligible for this year’s draft. Now, every team is playing catchup, especially since the only time he was able to pitch for scouts came on March 4 in a bullpen session. Understandably, his projections for the draft have been all over the place, as he has been projected to be drafted anywhere from the early teens into the 30s.
The further end of those projections would put Bitsko squarely on the Oakland A’s radar. As a high school pitcher, he would be a longer term project, but with a young pitching staff and the likes of Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk, the A’s have time to develop a young pitcher.
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Despite his youth, Bitsko’s arsenal already has two plus pitches. His fastball has been clocked as high as 98.5 MPH, with a spin rate that would already put him amongst the best in the majors. He throws a curveball that sits in the upper 70s to lower 80s, with impressive shape and movement. Bitsko also throws a changeup, and while he has not used it as much, the offering shows the potential to be a plus pitch as well.
Bitsko is also far more than just a power pitcher. He has displayed an ability to throw all three pitches for strikes, leading to the hope that he will also have plus command as he develops. He can already generate plenty of swings and misses, which could increase as he hones his craft.
There are risks associated, as there would be with any high school pitcher. He is currently committed to the University of Virginia, so he may require a higher signing bonus to forgo his college career. Teams also have not had much of a look at him, with just that one bullpen session since his eligibility in this year’s draft was announced.
Chances are, he will have been drafted by the time the A’s pick. There is some buzz around the Diamondbacks taking Bitsko with the 19th overall selection, as it is extremely unlikely that he falls to their supplemental pick, the 33rd overall pick of the draft. However, if he falls to the A’s at 26, Bitsko is the type of pitcher that is well worth the risk.
Even if Nick Bitsko is not available with the Oakland A’s make their first selection, he is a name to remember. His potential and arsenal could lead to his being a future star.