The Tampa Bay Rays are making sure their top pick is going nowhere.
The Rays announced Tuesday that they had signed Central Bucks-East (PA) pitcher Nick Bitsko to a professional deal. Tampa Bay took the 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, who reclassified to graduate high school a year early, with the 24th overall pick in this year's draft. He was previously one of the top-rated high school pitchers in the Class of 2021.
"Nick is an exceptionally talented young man and we are thrilled to have him in the Rays organization," said Rays Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Rob Metzler. "We identified him last summer as an elite power starting pitching prospect. 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. This was a unique situation with a high school arm who didn’t get on the mound this season. We are very thankful for the work of [area scout] Zach Clark and [regional supervisor] Brian Hickman amongst many within the amateur scouting department that put us in position to make this selection."
Bitsko was committed to play for the University of Virginia, but will now instead join the Rays minor-league system.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reports that Bitsko will receive a $3 million signing bonus, slightly above the $2.83 million slot for being drafted 24th.