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Phillies first-round pick Andrew Painter: scout reports, highlights & what they’re saying

By on July 12, 2021 0

The Phillies surprised many in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft when they selected right-handed prep pitcher Andrew Painter with the 13th overall pick, a year after taking on fellow high school pitcher Mick Abel in the 2020 Draft. .

The good news is that the Phillies could have the top of their 2025 rotation in place. The bad news is that the failure rate for high school pitchers, especially righties, is among the highest of any category. And to make matters worse, the Phillies’ overall first-round failure rate has recently been pretty low on its own, with Aaron Nola being the most accomplished of their first-round picks so far in the past decade, almost all of them. having come in the top half of the project.

But, if the club can develop Painter alongside Abel, they could have a mighty 1-2 punch for years to come. This, however, is easier said than done.

Still, the Phillies should have a good base in Painter, a guy they’ve heavily spotted throughout his career at Calvary Christian High School in South Florida – not to mention a guy they have some background on. privileged due to being a teammate with Joe Girardi’s son, Dante, at Calvary Christian. And throughout that process, they left thinking the 6-foot-7-inch painter was their best option, pulling him several places higher than when he had to leave.

It shouldn’t surprise you at all that this writer has never seen Painter throw in person – unfortunately I can’t escape Fort Lauderdale as often as I would like – so we’re going to rely on the experts. (and the movie) have to say about the young pitcher, because the numbers speak for themselves: in 47 rounds as a senior, Painter went 6-1 with a 0.38 ERA and 93 strikeouts.

Let’s go to the strip to see what Painter looks like on the mound:

It’s a little hard to tell when you don’t see him in person, so when it comes to analyzing Painter’s play, let’s start with a few spotting reports, the first from Fangraphs:

Painter is a prototypical prep arm with an XXL frame, superior arm strength, and a budding spin feeling, and like many high school kids of its ilk, it has a mid-spin photo if it all comes together. Painter’s fastball speed soared throughout the summer of 2020, and he wrapped the session 94-97 in his last abridged showcase outing. It has three other locations: a mid-80s shift, a mid-70s curve, and a mid-80s slider that has a horizontal, cutting action right now, but which Painter has a good feel to the side for. arms. You could point the finger at Tyler Kolek and say that there is a high risk in taking such a fat kid in the first round, but his things belong to the middle third of the first day. [fangraphs.com]

As you can see here, Fangraphs agrees with the general feeling that taking Painter in the first half of the first round could have been a bit risky, but the scouting report on MLB.com, which had it as 18th – ranked prospect before the draft, was more optimistic about the 18-year-old pitcher.

There are high school pitchers that get a lot of attention because of huge raw stuff, and there are prep arms that have an advanced feel for pitching. When the two come together in a perspective, there is a chance for something special. Painter has shown this exciting combination of raw materials and throwing feel at a number of demo events over the summer to establish himself as one of the top high school pitchers in the 2021 Draft Class. He did nothing to dampen those expectations, removing 54% of the hitters he faced in his senior year en route to the Gatorade State High School Player of the Year honors.

Painter offers a legitimate mix of four lengths from a 6ft 6in frame and has a very advanced feel for their mound play plan. He is typically between 93 and 95 mph and hits 96 with his fastball. He uses both a two and four stitch seam and enjoys climbing up to get swings and duds in the area. It throws both a 12-6 type curve ball in the upper 70s and a mid-80s slider, and it flashed potentially more change over the summer.

Despite his size, Painter is very athletic on the mound and repeats his performance extremely well, throwing all four shots for strikes with a chance he will have more control and command in the future. And while he’s already strong, there is projection in his frame, and he could throw harder as he grows older. Hired in Florida, Painter is expected to be one of the first high school pitchers to leave the board in July. [mlb.com]

After the selection, former Phillie and Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez praised Painter, comparing him to former teammate Mark Prior.

So what did the Phillies Boy Scouts see in Painter that they liked? According to amateur scouting chief Brian Barber, a lot of the same things MLB.com saw in the scout report above, including his height, mastery, and variety of throws, and what they call his “feel”. “for the game. Here’s more from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, who notes how interested the Phillies have been in this young pitcher for at least last year:

The Phillies Boy Scouts were there every time Painter took on the mound for the past 12 months. Barber personally spotted seven of his departures.

“He’s a great human being, you notice that immediately,” Barber said. “Then you start digging into the attributes of baseball. Delivery is a great place to start. The arm action works great. And it just has some really good stuff.

“The very first time we saw it last summer it was 97 mph. It has a curve and a slider that both project towards more and a shift that he has a really good idea for, for an 18-year-old.

“The icing on the cake was that he was a guy who at this age had throwing skills and the ability to throw the hitters. It was a complete package for us from day one.”

High school pitchers, especially righties, have traditionally been the most at-risk demographic in the draft. The Phillies have now taken that route two years in a row since Barber became scouting director. [nbcsports.com]

For Barber, this was his second draft at the helm, and for the second year in a row he decided to take the risk on a high school arm, perhaps trying to get as many dice throws as possible in hope that we turn. Here’s more from The Inquirer’s Matt Breen:

Painter and Abel are years away from the majors, but the Phillies have allowed themselves to consider a rotation led by first-round picks.

“It came up,” Barber said. “But that’s not the reason we took Andrew either. These are two separate conversations to have there. We rated Andrew on his own and then when you start talking about the excitement and perks of having Mick last year and the opportunity to add Andrew to that, and these guys stand up together in the minor leagues and hopefully a day before your rotation in Philadelphia, yeah, that excites us.

It was the eighth consecutive year the Phillies drafted No.16 or better. Their last seven first-round picks combined for 25.2 wins over substitution with the Phillies, but 91% of that was totaled by 2014 first-round Aaron Nola.

The Phillies picked near the top of the draft for nearly a decade, but haven’t gotten rich yet. There is still hope as Bryson Stott (2019) and Abel (2020) have impressed in the minor leagues. Stott, 23, reached 0.258 this season with an OPS of 0.833 between the New Jersey High A rating and the double A reading. He represented the Phillies on Sunday in Denver at the Futures Game. [inquirer.com]

That last paragraph is a sobering reminder that while every team feels good about their first round selection on Monday, in a few years only a few of them will feel the same. And a few years later, only a few still think they made the right choice.

For the Phillies, the decision to take Painter could become a big guess, especially if it turns out they picked the wrong guy when there were other more obvious options on the board. Here’s more of Gabrielle Starr from That Ball’s Outta Here…

2. Painter was not expected to be written so high.

Before the actual draft, the simulated drafts had Painter much lower. FanGraphs predicted Painter would go to the Cincinnati Reds in 35th place. Of course, their entire draft morning fell apart when the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to take Marcelo Mayer first.

Painter is the first Broward / Palm Beach area HS pitcher to be drafted in the first round since the Red Sox selected Triston Casas in 2018. […]

4. The Phillies chose Painter over top prospect Khalil Watson

Khalil Watson was expected to be in the top ten or even top five picks in Sunday’s draft, but he was still available when it was the Phillies’ turn to pick at thirteen. Watson, a Wake Forest shortstop, was not picked until the Marlins took him 16th overall, a move called the “theft” of the draft.

With the Phillies’ history of struggling to develop pitching prospects, Painter is a risk. But if passing on Watson was a mistake, that won’t be determined until much further down the road. [thatballsouttahere.com]

It will be several more years before the Phillies (and their fans) know if they made the right decision on Sunday night, but for the most part it looks like they have at least given themselves the chance to establish a dominant rotation in the distant non-future. Of course, a lot can happen by then.

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