It may only be a little less than three weeks into 2024, but MLB Pipeline has already started to release its top prospect rankings for the various positions. Just recently, the Top 10 right-handed pitching prospects list was revealed, and two top prospects from the Philadelphia Phillies had the distinguished honor of making the list.
Phillies top-ranked prospect Andrew Painter came in at No. 4 while their second-ranked prospect Mick Abel found himself at No. 7, with Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Paul Skenes taking the top spot.
Andrew Painter keeps a high ranking despite missing all of 2023
Painter actually fell two spots from his previous No. 2 ranking of top RHP prospects in 2023. Considering he was out for the entire year last season after Tommy John surgery and will likely miss most, if not all, of the entire 2024 season as well, the fact he could maintain his ranking so high on the list speaks volumes of his enormous skills and potential.
In 2002, prior to his injury, Painter had a tremendous breakout year in which he ascended three minor league levels, pitching to a 6-2 record with a 1.56 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and a whopping 155 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings of work. In addition, despite being dormant all last season, he still managed to rank 28th on MLB Pipeline’s last update of its Top 100 prospects in 2023.
Painter will look forward to fully recovering to 100 percent health and preparing to return stronger than ever in 2025.
Mick Abel maintains his spot in the Top 10
In the case of Abel, he maintains his No. 7 position among right-handed pitching prospects from 2023 after having a solid season last year with the Reading Fightin Phils and Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Splitting his time between the two minor league affiliates, Abel posted a 5-6 record with a 4.13 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, along with 132 strikeouts in 113 1/3 innings in 23 starts. After being ranked within the Top 50 prospects in all of baseball, at No. 45 last season according to MLB Pipeline, Abel will begin 2024 in Triple-A and have an outside shot of making the Phillies' major league roster this season if all goes well.
The Phillies will have an injection of youth into their pitching staff in the upcoming years, as the future of their starting rotation looks bright and scary for future opposing hitters. With Painter and Abel, they may be able to transition from a veteran-laden staff into a younger rotation and maintain one of the strongest pitching staffs in the league, and we are definitely here for it.