Bryce Harper was one of the first to welcome Phillies first-round pick Mick Abel


Shortly after the initial call from Phillies officials welcoming him to the organization Wednesday night, first-round pick Mick Abel received a FaceTime call from a number he didn't recognize.

Draft night is unique, you're expecting calls from numbers you don't recognize. So Abel picked up ... and saw Bryce Harper's face.

"That was pretty cool," the 18-year-old right-handed pitcher out of Jesuit HS in Oregon said. "I got caught by surprise like, oh, who's FaceTiming me? I answered and see his face pop up and I'm like, whoa, that's Bryce Harper, what the heck?"

Harper takes his role as the face of the Phillies seriously. He similarly welcomed Bryson Stott, last year's Phillies first-rounder and a fellow Vegas guy. It's like a new little cousin joining the family. Harper enjoys showing young guys the ropes the way Jayson Werth did for him once upon a time in D.C.

What was Harper's message to Abel?

"He said welcome aboard, and the biggest thing I took away is that the grind starts now," Abel said. "Better get to work."

The Phillies selected Abel 15th overall. He was the first high school pitcher chosen and drew draft-night comparisons to Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg and Jack Flaherty by national draft analysts. That's all a ways away. There is still plenty of development time ahead for Abel, a high schooler who didn't get to play his senior season because of the coronavirus shutdown. 

The deadline to sign draft picks this year is Aug. 1. Abel has a commitment to Oregon State but is fully expected to sign with the Phillies. The slot value of the 15th overall pick this year is just under $3.89 million.

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