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Mick Abel vs. Jared Kelley: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, RHP Rankings

Leading up to the 2020 draft on June 10, we'll preview each position group by comparing and contrasting two of the top players in the mix. Today is righthanded pitchers, led by Mick Abel and Jared Kelley

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Outfielders | Corner Infielders| Lefthanders

Fastball: Kelley and Abel have reached similar peak velocities, both getting up to the 99 mph range at various times, but Kelley gets the edge here because his fastball velocity is more consistently in the upper 90s. The Texan also has exceptional feel to spot his fastball where he wants. EDGE: Kelley.

Breaking Ball: Abel gets the nod here, because his low-80s slider was voted the best overall breaking pitch in the high school class by scouting directors on our preseason best tools list. Abel’s slider is consistently sharp with good depth and tilt, while the development of Kelley’s breaking ball is one of his bigger questions he faces. EDGE: Abel

Changeup: Both Kelley and Abel have changeups that stack up among the best in the class, though Kelley’s takes a very slight edge here. The pitch sits in the low 80s with excellent diving life, and he throws the pitch with impressive arm speed and has advanced feel to consistently locate the offering at the bottom of the zone. EDGE: Kelley

Control: Both Kelley and Abel are regarded as two of the better strike-throwers in the class, but scouting directors voted that Abel had better command, and for that he gets the edge here. Consistently landing his entire arsenal is the another area of separation in this category. EDGE: Abel

X Factor: Current physicality is perhaps the biggest difference between Kelley and Abel. The former is close to physically maxed out at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and already possesses a pro-ready frame. Scouts believe Kelley has the durability to handle a five-day workload. Abel is much lankier at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds, with more room for added strength gains in the future. While he added weight over the offseason, his frame suggests more room for future physical development. This could benefit either pitcher depending on team preference. Some clubs want physical prep players, while others might prefer to dream on what Abel could look like in several years. EDGE: Draw.

Scout's take on Abel: “I’m enamored with this one. I love him. I think he’s got a chance to be really good. He has now stuff, up to 96-97 (mph), breaking balls, projection, delivery . . . Front-of-the-rotation ceiling.”

Scout's take on Kelley: “He is a man amongst boys . . . At the Area Codes he was just toying with guys . . . The last guy who I saw who could pitch fastball/changeup like that was Chris Paddack, and you saw how quick he got to the big leagues—and Kelley has better stuff than Paddack in high school.”

SPOTLIGHT: Top 2020 Righthanded Pitchers

Strength: 4 stars

Coming on the heels of one of the weakest pitching draft classes ever, the 2020 crop of righthanders excites scouting departments with its premium talent and depth. Ten or more are projected to go in the first round, headed by collegians Emerson Hancock and Max Meyer and preps Jared Kelley and Mick Abel.

See full scouting reports in the BA 500 here.

First-Round Talents
14Emerson HancockGeorgiaGA6050556060
210Max MeyerMinnesotaMN70704550
311Jared KelleyHS—RefugioTX70506060
412Mick AbelHS—PortlandOR6050606060
519Nick BitskoHS—DoylestownPA60604550
622Cade CavalliOklahomaOK6055605550
723J.T. GinnMississippi StateMS70605560
824Cole WilcoxGeorgiaGA60605045
925Carmen MlodzinskiSouth CarolinaSC6045554555
1026Tanner BurnsAuburnAL60555555


Phillies' Mick Abel Will Pitch To His Strengths In 2023

The 2020 first-rounder learned a valuable lesson about power versus precision in 2022. It will make him a more effective pitcher in the future.

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