Are the top 5 Phillies prospects showing progress?

Checking in to see how the Phillies' top prospects are doing early in the season.
Philadelphia Phillies No. 2 prospect Mick Abel
Philadelphia Phillies No. 2 prospect Mick Abel / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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No. 2: Mick Abel (Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs)

Mick Abel is the closest of the top five prospects on this list to making his major league debut. Currently pitching for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the 22-year-old hasn't been able to carry over his success in spring training to his second extended taste at the Triple-A Level.

Some Phillies fans were hoping Abel would force his way into the Phillies rotation after his stellar showing during spring training. The front office obviously felt like Abel has more to prove against Triple-A hitters. So far, that decision seems to be the right one.

In five starts, Abel is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.68 While he has 26 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings pitched, he has allowed four home runs and walked 17 batters. That foot traffic on the basepaths has been a major problem for the talented right-hander over the course of his first five starts of 2024.

If Abel can solve his command issues and start dominating Triple-A hitters, it's possible we could see him make his debut sometime this summer or as a September call-up.

No. 1: Andrew Painter (Recovering from Tommy John)

The Pittsburgh Pirates will get a glimpse of the future this Saturday when 2023 first-round pick Paul Skenes makes his MLB debut after a brief but dominant showing in the minor leagues. Phillies top prospect Andrew Painter was on a similar trajectory last year before being lost for the last ten months due to Tommy John surgery.

Now 21, Painter is rehabbing his way back from the injury, and an optimistic outcome could see the flame thrower make a minor league start at the end of the season. Speaking with's Todd Zolecki in February, Painter and the Phillies were clear about being as careful as possible not to rush the organization's No.1 prospect back too soon and risk further injury.

“We haven’t talked about a timetable or anything like that,” Painter explained, per Zolecki. “We don’t want to clog the mind with different scenarios and play the hypothetical game. We’re just trying to make sure there’s the least amount of distractions possible and I can just go in and focus on my rehab and make sure we’re getting better every day.”

At the time of this interview, Painter was just beginning to throw a baseball again. It was the first small step for a pitcher only seven months removed from major elbow surgery.

“I kind of just picked up a ball,” said Painter, per Zolecki. “It's like riding a bike. Just kind of picked it up and started throwing. By that time, I made a couple throws, and you can't look back on it and be scared, because you've already done it.”

The Phillies will hope all goes smoothly for Painter this summer as he takes the next steps in his recovery. What kind of pitcher he'll be when he comes back remains a mystery, but his dominant 26 starts in the minors in 2021 and 2022 gave the impression the Phillies have a future top-of-the-rotation starter. Let's hope that remains his trajectory when he returns to the mound in 2025.