The Philadelphia Phillies’ future of pitching has arrived in top prospects Mick Abel and Andrew Painter
The Philadelphia Phillies are only a couple of years away from having some truly dominant pitching.
Mick Abel and Andrew Painter are on the horizon.
The Phillies’ first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, respectively, Abel and Painter are now the top pitching prospects in the organization, both ranked top-three, with shortstop Bryson Stott sandwiched in the middle.
This week at Phillies mini-camp, the two young arms raved about each other to NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Painter saying how “very similar” they are, and Abel calling them “two peas in a pod,” and one of his best friends in the organization.
When asked about their ascension through the Phillies farm system, both were excited at the idea of the duo ‘climbing the ladder’ to the majors together.
"“I think he’s going to have a killer year, and I hope that I will as well.”Mick Abel"
The Phillies took Abel 15th overall in 2020, the first high school pitcher in that year’s draft. The following summer, they drafted Painter 13th overall, also out of high school.
Painter’s professional debut consisted of four short starts in rookie ball, where he did not allow a run or issue a walk. He struck out 12 batters over six total innings.
Aside from Zack Wheeler and the late-season emergence of Ranger Suárez as a starter for the first time since 2018, the Phillies rotation struggled through their 2021 campaign. Aaron Nola made more of a negative impact, an injury ended Zach Eflin’s season in July, Kyle Gibson was an underwhelming trade, and the rest was a veritable cornucopia of disappointment.
Without a dominant rotation – or even a competent one – the Phillies will never pull themselves above the bar of mediocrity. Effective starting pitching is the first line of defense; their job is to keep the other team off the scoreboard long enough for their team to score, putting the bullpen in a position to come in and shut it down. It’s easy to pinpoint where many Phillies games go wrong; when the starting pitcher domino falls early, the ripple effect is immense and difficult to overcome.
But look down the road to 2024 and 2025, when Abel and Painter are expected to debut, and the Phillies might just have the best one-two punch in baseball.