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Rising senior righty pitcher dominated for the state championship-winning Crusaders

COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN MURPHY - Jesuit rising senior Mick Abel on the Prep Baseball Player of the Year award after helping the Crusaders win the Class 6A state championship.

When it comes to assembling baseball talent, both collegiately and at the professional ranks, Oregon's days of being slept on might be over.

Sherwood native and Oregon State star Adley Rutschman just set the standard by being drafted first overall by the Baltimore Orioles back in June. Former Westview great Carson Kelly is proving himself as one of the game's more promising catchers in his first fully-featured role for the Arizona Diamondbacks while ex-Southridge and Murrayhill ace Jace Fry is a full-time big leaguer for the Chicago White Sox. Meanwhile, Metro League legends Brandon Eisert (Oregon State) and Kenyon Yovan (University of Oregon) are dominating the college game after starring at Aloha and Westview, respectively. Kevin Watson Jr. signed with Arizona straight out of Beaverton High School and is beginning to find his footing in the minor leagues. With each passing summer and every Major League Baseball Draft, the list of impressive Oregon bred players continues to grow. The bar continues to rise as stars are groomed on the suddenly fertile Northwest soil and scattered across the country.

There will be more to come. And this time next June, when the 2020 MLB draft rolls around, Jesuit rising senior Mick Abel could very well be in the discussion not just as the best pitcher to ever set foot in this state, but as a possible first round pick as well.

After a breakthrough junior season and subsequent outstanding summer traveling the country showcasing his preeminent pitching ability, Abel certainly has the resume.

Abel, who pitched the Crusaders to a 6A Championship this spring, was named the Oregon Sports Awards' 2019 Prep Baseball Player of the Year on Monday. The award comes on the heels of Abel receiving his state championship ring, as well as Gatorade Oregon Baseball Player of the Year and 6A/Metro League Pitcher of the Year honors. The 6-5, 185-pound right-hander was chosen by the Oregon Sports Awards' voting panel over finalists Christian Cooney (Central Catholic) and Jacob Dobmeier (Newport). He is the first Crusader to win the award, which was incepted in 2012.

Abel is simply appointment viewing each time he takes the bump.

The right-hander has an easy, repeatable right-handed throwing motion that looks effortless on the mound. He can rev up his fastball velocity into the mid-'90s and sit there all game-long. Mix in a slider that hits 86 miles an hour and a quickly developing changeup and Abel is unhittable at the high school level. As Abel continues to get bigger and stronger, that natural NOS coming from his cannon right arm is only going to mushroom.

One would be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoys the game of baseball more than Abel as well. He loves to compete and relishes challenging hitters. His passion for the sport is evident with each grin, high five and exuberant yell on the field. Abel is a great teammate, too, someone who takes just as much joy in watching his buddies succeed from the Jesuit dugout as his own exploits.

Abel is the highest-rated prep baseball player Oregon has produced since former Metro League standouts Fry and Kelly were each selected in the first nine rounds of the 2011 and 2012 MLB Drafts, respectively. 

He competed in USA Baseball's inaugural Prospect Development Pipeline League for three weeks in June and was ranked by as the No. 2 overall player to come out of the showcase. Abel struck out the side in the showcase's all-star game in Cleveland and gave up just one run and four hits against 11 strikeouts over eight innings. Perfect Game USA ranks Abel as the No. 5 overall class of 2020 prospect. He gave a verbal commitment to Oregon State in 2017 and reaffirmed his pledge on "The Noe Show."  He is slated to try out for USA Baseball's 18U National Team in August. Should Abel make the final 20-man roster, he'll compete in the 2019 U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea from Aug. 30- Sept. 8.  Abel has also played in showcase games and tournaments with Perfect Game USA and Area Code this summer. He has pitched on the club scene for the West Linn-based Gunderson Pitching Academy as well. Abel cemented himself as the most dominant arm in Oregon this spring. He finished the season 10-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 72.1 innings pitched. Abel was 2-0 in postseason play and tossed eight innings in the Crusaders' 2-1, 13-inning win over rival Central Catholic in the state championship. He started on the hill in three of the top-ranked Crusaders' five playoff wins. Abel allowed a combined 13 runs and 41 hits and walked 21 batters in regular and postseason play. Abel is an infielder on days he does not pitch. This spring, he hit .271 with 16 hits and 15 RBI in 59 plate appearances. Abel hit 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 1 triple and scored 13 runs. He also received votes to receive the 6A/5A Johnny Carpenter Prep Boys Athlete of the Year award, which was presented to Benson High sprinter Micah Williams on July 10. 

COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN MURPHY - Jesuit rising senior Mick Abel on the Prep Baseball Player of the Year award after helping the Crusaders win the Class 6A state championship.

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