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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
No. Rank Player School State FB CB SL CHG CTL
1 4 Emerson Hancock Georgia GA 60 50 55 60 60
2 10 Max Meyer Minnesota MN 70 70 45 50
3 11 Jared Kelley HS—Refugio TX 70 50 60 60
4 12 Mick Abel HS—Portland OR 60 50 60 60 60
5 19 Nick Bitsko HS—Doylestown PA 60 60 45 50
6 22 Cade Cavalli Oklahoma OK 60 55 60 55 50
7 23 J.T. Ginn Mississippi State MS 70 60 55 60
8 24 Cole Wilcox Georgia GA 60 60 50 45
9 25 Carmen Mlodzinski South Carolina SC 60 45 55 45 55
10 26 Tanner Burns Auburn AL 60 55 55 55


Matt Allan Tomdipace

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