Mick Abel is the latest Phillies prospect to make his Grapefruit League debut.
Closely behind Painter on the Phillies' Top 30 prospects list is fellow right-hander Mick Abel. The former 15th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft made his surprise Grapefruit League debut on Friday opposite the Detroit Tigers.
In a scoreless sixth inning, Abel allowed a one-out, four-pitch walk and single, before getting Tigers non-roster invitee infielder Jermaine Palacios to ground into a double play. To start the inning, Abel got former Phillies minor-league catcher Donny Sands to line out to left field.
The 21-year-old reached as fast as 98.5 miles per hour on the radar gun on Friday — a slight tick below Painter touching 99 miles per hour earlier in the week. Of his 11 pitches (eight fastballs and three sliders), Abel threw six for strikes and induced a pair of whiffs.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, if it were not for Painter quickly ascending through the Phillies organization, Abel would be considered their most promising, up-and-coming player. Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski recently said himself that if Abel was in another spring training camp, he would receive "a lot of attention."
While Abel has only reached as high as the Double-A level — pitching 23 innings in five starts last season with the Reading Fightin Phils — he very well could begin the 2023 season with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. And a 2023 big-league debut would not be out of the question if manager Rob Thomson has a need at some point during the club's 162-game schedule.
While the Phillies' farm system seemed extremely barren not too long ago, that is anything but the case today.