Like most Phillies fans, I also just learned who Mick Abel was last night when he was selected 15th overall by the Phillies. Abel(18) was drafted out of Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Oregon. Abel is the ideal size for a pitcher coming in at 6 foot 5 inches and weighs 198 pounds.
When watching him throw in the Perfect Game showcase video one negative stuck out to me, he does not consistently repeat his windup speed. This isn’t a mechanical issue, but it can create one, especially for a young arm. Randomly speeding up your windup is a tactic pitchers use to catch the hitter off guard in hopes to get the hitter off balance. Its mainly used when a hitter may expect an off speed pitch and makes the fastball that much more of an adjustment especially with Abel’s velocity. Johnny Cueto and Marcus Stroman have had success in the majors with this tactic. I prefer Abel to not use this because rushing your mechanics can lead to overthrowing, lack of control, and potential arm issues. Other than that he has good downward action and has similar velocity/control in both the wind up and the stretch.
In the video Abel seems to sit in the mid 90s but is rumored to be able to get it up in the 97-98 range which is pretty insane for a High School arm. I could easy see him consistently hitting 97+Mph with a few more years of development. He doesn’t seem afraid to challenge hitters early in the count with the fastball and overall has solid command of the pitch.
I am very impressed with Abel’s slider as he seems to favor this pitch a lot. Its a great pitch, it averages around 85 Mph and he uses it early in counts as a get me over strike or he uses it as a put away pitch. It reminds me a lot of Jacob Degromm’s slider, being over powering at times and hard for the batter to pick up on. His arm action makes the pitch, hitters guessing fastball will be fooled when he drops the slider early and late in the count.
This will be the pitch that will be the X-factor for Abel. The pitch sits around 93-94MPH and has some nasty, Greg Maddox, like tail on it. This pitch will be his friend early in the count because it is a ground ball pitch and will be deadly with 2-strikes fooling right handed hitters. From the video hitters seem to get handcuffed by the pitch as there was not many solid swings taken at the two seam fastball.
Its pretty impressive how talented Mick Abel already is at age 18. I think he has three pitches right now that could get Major Leaguers out consistently. This was a great pick by the Phillies who don’t have many promising pitching prospects besides Spencer Howard. I wouldn’t be surprised is Mick Abel found himself on the Top-100 Prospect list rather quickly.
Comparison: Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)
I think Abel pitches very similar to Verlander, they both have quick mechanics and over power hitters with their full arsenal. I think Abel will turn out to be a high strikeout guy once he is fully developed and ready for the league.