Red Sox 2020 MLB Draft Target: Right-handed pitcher Mick Abel

BOSTON, MA - June 6: A hat and glove sit in the Boston Red Sox dugout during the third inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on June 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - June 6: A hat and glove sit in the Boston Red Sox dugout during the third inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park on June 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Red Sox should target RHP Mick Abel in the 2020 MLB Draft.

The Boston Red Sox farm system is thin on high-upside starting pitchers so it’s no surprise that many are predicting them to go with one of the top available arms in the first round of this week’s MLB draft. One pitcher to keep an eye on who will potentially be on the board when the Red Sox pick at No. 17 overall is right-handed pitcher Mick Abel.

Several mock drafts have predicted Abel being selected by the Red Sox, including MLB.com. The 18-year-old from Jesuit High School has plenty of upside and could end up being the best pitcher in this draft class.

According to MLB.com’s scouting report, Abel flashes three plus pitches. His fastball sits in the 93-95 mph range with good life at the bottom of the zone and riding action when he throws it high. He should be able to increase his velocity as he physically matures and grows stronger.

Abel complements his fastball with a very effective slider that Baseball America ranked as the best of any high school pitcher in this draft class. He also throws a curve with over the top rotation. The scouting report indicates that these two pitches can sometimes morph into each other but there’s enough of a difference to believe he can develop them both into plus pitches. He’s also developing a sinking changeup that has the potential to add another plus pitch to his arsenal.

The right-hander helped pitch his team to a state title and he was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Oregon.

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Abel throws strikes and has been praised for his makeup and maturity. His work ethic and competitiveness has been compared to Max Scherzer. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that multiple Cy Young awards are in Abel’s future, it’s notable that the comparison came from Kevin Gunderson, who runs a pitching academy in Oregon and spent time with Scherzer on the US National team in 2005, per WEEI.com.

He’s already committed to Oregon State but it would be difficult for Abel to pass up the opportunity if he’s selected in the first round. That seems likely considering that MLB.com ranks Abel as the No. 11 overall player in this draft. The bigger question is whether or not he will still be available when the Red Sox pick at 17.

The Red Sox haven’t drafted a pitcher who they developed into a legitimate ace since they selected Jon Lester in the 2002 draft. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom is entering his first draft at the helm of the Red Sox front office. He brings a strong track record for developing pitching prospects from his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays and has shown an affinity for high school pitchers.

Next. Red Sox can attract undrafted players. dark

Boston was stripped of their second-round pick as punishment stemming from the 2018 sign-stealing investigation. After they pick at No. 17 they won’t be on the clock again until No. 89 overall. That puts a greater emphasis on nailing that first pick. Abel has the talent upside to give him a high ceiling along with the work ethic and makeup to make him a fairly safe first round pick.