The Tampa Bay Rays are trying to solve the “Mystery Man.” On Wednesday night, the Rays selected CB East’s Nick Bitsko with the 24th overall pick of the Major League Draft.
The 6-foot-4 Bitsko, who doesn’t turn 18 until June 16, was clocked on video throwing a fastball that hit 98.5 mph. The Virginia-commit was ranked by all major publications as being one of the most elite high school arms in the 2020 draft.
Bitsko was expected to be the premier arm in the 2021 draft until he reclassified in January. COVID-19’s subsequent wipe out of CB East’s baseball season made Bitsko extremely difficult to scout. He logged just 32 career innings as a Patriot. Both ESPN and MLB.com cited Bitsko as the most challenging player to evaluate in the draft.
At least one big leaguer with impeccable credentials is impressed by the Doylestown product however. “You look at him and you say, ‘That’s the way it looks.’ This guy had a circuit last year with the showcases. As a freshman and sophomore, he was a man against kids,” said two-time All Star Al Leiter on the MLB Network in his immediate breakdown of Bitsko’s selection. “I like the delivery. It’s smooth and powerful. I think there is a lot of upside.”