Phillies Scout Bishop Eustace Standout for 2021 MLB Draft
By Matt Rappa
The Philadelphia Phillies are scouting an intriguing South Jersey-area native southpaw.
Last June, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted right-handed starting pitcher Mick Abel 15th overall out of the Beaverton, Oregon-based Jesuit High School. Abel is already thriving as a member of the Clearwater Threshers: in four starts between May 16 and June 3, he posted a combined 1.42 ERA, held opposing batters to a .143/.217/.143 slash line, and struck out 18 batters over 12 2/3 innings.
One scout says Abel reminds him of a “young Roy Halladay.” High praise, indeed, for a future Phillie.
Now, the Phillies have their sights set on another high school arm — who is drawing comparisons to former ace Madison Bumgarner — to possibly select with their 13th overall pick for the 2021 draft, which is set to take place one month later than usual (July).
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark, the Phillies have scouted Bishop Eustace senior Anthony Solometo, and have talked to him “a bunch of times.”
Set to turn 19 in December, MLB.com ranks the left-handed pitcher as the No. 30-ranked top baseball draft prospect, and states that the combination of his 6-foot-3 frame and left-handedness “has many scouts feeling very bullish about Solometo’s chances at the next level.”
Anthony Solometo has been compared to Mackenzie Gore and Madison Bumgarner
“With a [MacKenzie] Gore-like high kick and a Bumgarner-esque three-quarter delivery, the North Carolina recruit throws his fastball in the 90-94 miles per hour range with good power and life,” continues MLB.com, which currently projects Solometo to fall to the Toronto Blue Jays with the 19th pick.
"“He has outstanding command of the pitch, already showing the ability to challenge right-handed hitters inside with it. His breaking ball is at its best when it’s more of a true slider, and though it can get a little too big at times and become slurvy, it still plays well off of his arm slot. – MLB.com"
This season, Solometo has yielded just five hits, one run, and five walks spanning 32 2/3 innings pitched, while logging an eye-catching 64 strikeouts. In the lefty’s most recent outing, he only allowed a pair of hits, while striking out a dozen batters en route to an 8-1 Bishop Eustace victory against Williamstown in the Diamond Classic final.
"“He has an average changeup now, but he has the chance to have three above-average pitches in the future.” – MLB.com"
Led by head coach Sam Tropiano, Solometo’s Pennsauken Township-based team went 21-1 this season, with their only loss being their most recent contest on Monday in the NJSIAA Tournament Semifinals.
Solometo is not the only South Jersey standout projected to go in the first round of next month’s draft, with Mainland Regional High School (Linwood, NJ) star pitcher Chase Petty also receiving attention. No report has yet to connect the Phillies to having similar interest in Petty.
It will be interesting to see if the Phillies stay local and select the South Jersey standout.