3 rival scouts offer their views on Phillies' top draft pick Mick Abel


We asked three scout friends about the Phillies' selection of pitcher Mick Abel with the 15th pick in the draft on Wednesday night.

All three scouts, none of whom work for the Phillies, had broken down video of the 18-year-old right-hander for their clubs and two of them had seen him pitch in person several times over the last couple of years.

So, what do you think, boys?

"I've only seen him on video," the first scout said. "But a lot of people I trust think he is a very good prospect.

"What I saw was a kid with a lot of upside. Firm fastball. Out pitch is his slider. He throws strikes.

"He's got nice, loose arm action, low effort. He gets easy velocity. He is what the good ones look like at a young age. Good pick. Could be a No. 2 starter."

Abel is 6-5 and 198 pounds with lots of room to get stronger. He comes out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. He did not pitch this spring because of the COVID-19 shutdown so no scouting staff was able to put fresh eyes on him, at least in person in a competitive situation, this spring.

Our other two scout friends had both seen Abel a number of times over the last couple of years.

"He's a Northwest guy and I'm a Northwest guy, so I'm very familiar with him," said scout No. 2, whose team picked after the Phillies. "He's very well-known up here. I've seen him a number of times and it doesn't take me a whole lot to see mechanically and physically what he could be. He's a special talent.

"High school pitchers are always a gamble and this year there's more gamble than ever because nobody was able to get a lot of looks at kids, but I think this is a great pick. If I put myself in their shoes, I think they did a great job. He's a No. 1 type. That's the projection, both physically and with velocity and his total mix. The potential is total-package.

"He was doing stuff in his 'pens this spring in terms of pure velocity and spins that, if you're into analytics, were as good as there is in the whole draft." 

During the television broadcast of the first round  Wednesday night, former Colorado general manager Dan O'Dowd compared Abel to Justin Verlander, a two-time Cy Young winner.

Scout No. 2 compared Abel to another Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello.

"Porcello is a good comp because of that sinker," the scout said. "He's four-seam (up to 97 mph) and sinker. The fastball is live. The slider is the biggest swing and miss pitch of the secondary stuff. He's got the potential to have a plus changeup and plus touch. Both the change and the touch are on the come, meaning he's going to get there. Command is the last thing to come with these young kids. There's a lot of horsepower there to corral but all the natural ingredients are there."

Rival scout No. 3 saw Abel more than once last summer. The scout commended the Phillies for not going the safe, college position player route with their first pick for a fourth year in a row.

"We loved Abel, he just didn't fit for us where we were picking," scout No. 3 said. "He's your classic projection right-hander where you love the body, the arm action, the stuff. I envision him as a frontline starter.

"I see some Kerry Wood, Derek Lowe and Rick Porcello in him. He was the best high school pitcher in the draft. Big upside."

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