The young arm already has quite a few accolades to his name and a good relationship with Joe Girardi. Now, he can add something else to his resumé:
Impressing Pedro Martinez.
Pedro Martinez is already impressed with Phillies First-Round Pick Andrew Painter.
Martinez isn’t wearing a Phillies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, but he spent his final season wearing their uniform in 2009.
The legendary pitcher had one of the best careers in MLB history, spanning 18 seasons, and he has a loaded resumé of his own. He’s one of just six pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, and one of ten pitchers who have won the award at least three times. He’s also a five-time ERA leader, won the pitching Triple Crown, an eight-time All-Star, and in 2004, he helped the Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years. Back when pitchers’ win-loss was a meaningful metric, he retired with a 219-100 record.
Suffice to say, he knows a thing or two about pitching.
If Martinez is impressed with your fastball and approach to hitters, you’re doing something right. It’s like Orville Redenbacher saying he likes your popcorn, or Bill Nye telling you you’re good at science.
Martinez also says Painter reminds him of Mark Prior “in his early days.” Prior was the second overall pick in the 2001 draft, and made his major-league debut after just nine starts in the Cubs farm system. In his debut, he struck out 10 batters over six innings. Prior played his entire five-year career with the Chicago Cubs from 2002-2006, and even finished third in Cy Young voting in 2003, but a plethora of injuries marred and ultimately ended his career. He attempted comebacks with various teams, signing minor-league deals with the Yankees and Red Sox, but never pitched in the big leagues again.
Like Prior, Painter has a fastball, curveball, and changeup, though the Phillies prospect’s repertoire also boasts a slider. His fastball velocity tops out around 96-97 mph, depending on varying reports; Prior in his heyday could hit the same numbers. FanGraphs describes Painter as having “an XXL frame, premium arm strength, and nascent feel for spin.”
Prior was slightly shorter, standing at six-foot-five. Phillies scouting director, Brian Barber, hilariously described the six-foot-seven Painter as “a large human being.”
Since retiring, Martinez continues to be in baseball in every way he can. He’s an analyst on MLB Network, has done postseason coverage, continues to work with the Red Sox, and loves to tweet about current baseball players and pass along his wisdom and expertise.
If the Phillies can develop Painter into half the pitcher Martinez was, he’ll be a formidable force on the mound.