Rays sign first-round draft pick Nick Bitsko for $3 million

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)The Tampa Bay Rays have reached terms with first-round draft pick Nick Bitsko, giving the Pennsylvania high school pitcher a $3 million signing bonus.

The 18-year-old right-hander was the 24th overall selection this month after going 4-2 with a 1.27 ERA and 68 strikeouts in two seasons at Central Bucks East High.

Several months after announcing plans to graduate a year early, Bitsko’s final prep season was canceled this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

”We identified him last summer as an elite power starting pitching prospect,” Rays senior director of amateur scouting Rob Metzler said.

”Nick’s physical attributes – size, arm action, delivery and athleticism- paired with an advanced maturity and professional focus, should give him a great chance to compete his way through the system,” Metzler added. ”This was a unique situation with a high school arm who didn’t get on the mound this season. ”

Tampa Bay has signed four of its six draft picks. Bitsko joins shortstop Alika Williams and right-handed pitchers Hunter Barnhart and Jeff Hakanson.

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