Central Bucks East High School pitcher Nick Bitsko, drafted 24th overall by the Tampa Bay Rays

DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- In his Doylestown living room surrounded by family and friends, Central Bucks East High School pitcher Nick Bitsko couldn't believe he was drafted 24th overall in the 1st round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

"Didn't feel like it was real," said Bitsko. "It's weird, it doesn't feel like I am in this draft," Bitsko recalled telling his father as the draft was going on.

"Obviously it's an exciting feeling, to hear your name called. It's a dream come true," he added.

Bitsko is slotted to make $2.83 million if he signs with the Rays and opts not to go to college at Virginia. Not bad for an early 18th birthday present, which is just days away.

At 17-years-old, Bitsko is not only the youngest first-rounder selected this year, but he's one of the highest draft picks to ever come out of Bucks County.

With a fastball averaging in the mid-90s and comparisons to two-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, a former MVP, Bitsko is hoping he's on the fast track to the big leagues.

"This is a huge stepping stone. Getting drafted just apart of it," said Bitsko. "This is just the beginning, the hard work will continue."

CB East Baseball coach Kyle Dennis, who was at Bitsko's Draft party celebrating the accomplishment said, "He is miles above everybody from a velocity standpoint, and the ability to pair that with off-speed pitches, he's second to none in players I've seen."

Bitsko's story is remarkable considering Bitsko pitched only two years of high school baseball at CB East. He decided to graduate a year early and then just as he was preparing for this season, it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bitsko says it's been a whirlwind of emotions in the last few months.

"Sucks, not having a season with my teammates, I missed a season with them and compete one last time," said Bitsko. "Make a run at a state title, that's the biggest thing missed from a season."

The 6 foot 4, 220Lb righty, can't wait to take that next step as a professional and play ball.

There's not expected to be a minor league baseball season this year and if that's the case, Bitsko will continue to work out on his own locally.

Bitsko was the second high school pitcher selected in the 2020 MLB Draft after the Phillies picked Mick Abel, from Jesuit High School in Oregon.

Bitsko would've loved it had his favorite team growing up drafted him, but he has no complaints as Tampa has arguably the best minor-league system in baseball at developing players.
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