Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, Griff McGarry among promising Phillies prospects.
While the Philadelphia Phillies are chasing a postseason spot for the first time in more than a decade, the minor-league season is wrapping up for Double-A Reading this weekend and for Triple-A Lehigh Valley at the end of the month.
Most of the excitement coming from the minor leagues this season has been the revelation of a few above-average pitching prospects. Many Phillies fans hope that one or more of these names will contribute in the majors as early as next season.
The top prospect in the organization, Andrew Painter pitched in what is likely his final game of the season on Friday. It was his worst game statistically since his call-up from High-A Jersey Shore back in late August. The 19-year-old went four innings and gave up five earned runs on seven hits. He did strike out five opposing hitters. Painter ended his season at Reading with a 2.54 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 28 1/3 innings. Despite the struggle on Friday, Painter had an unbelievable season and demonstrated the ability to dominate hitters at multiple levels.
The Phillies No. 2 prospect, Mick Abel likely made his final start at Reading on Saturday. Abel has fared well against Double-A pitching since his August call-up, and he cruised through his first three innings Saturday — striking out three batters in just 38 pitches. However, he ran into trouble and went 4 1/3 innings — giving up three earned runs. His final ERA for Reading is 3.52 over 24 innings, striking out 27 hitters.
Griff McGarry — the Phillies No. 4 prospect — was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in early September, where he was moved to a bullpen role. Some in the organization and media believed that this move was to fast-track him to make his major-league debut in the absence of Corey Knebel and Seranthony Dominguez — the latter who has since returned from his injury. McGarry has struggled with command since his call up to Lehigh Valley. In five innings pitched, he has given up three earned runs and has struck out six batters.
While McGarry has struggled in Triple-A, it should be noted that in his first year of professional ball last year, he pitched 24 1/3 innings. As of Saturday, he has surpassed that mark by 60 innings. Lehigh Valley still has another week or so before the end of the season, so McGarry should see another appearance or two.
Painter had pitched just six professional innings in 2021. This year, he has pitched 103 2/3 innings over three levels in the minors. The fact that it took Painter this long to finally “struggle” is an encouraging sign, especially as young as he is.
Abel had pitched 44 2/3 innings in 2021. He has also surpassed his high innings mark by a significant amount, as he logged across 100 innings in 2022.
All three of these pitchers will most likely see some time in the Phillies’ big-league spring training camp next February and March. While it is unlikely that many — if any — will begin the season on the active roster, there is strong hope in the organization that one or more of these pitchers will make an impact at some point in 2023.