Phillies top prospect Andrew Painter will be one of the biggest storylines of spring training this year. It will revolve around whether or not he will start this season as the team’s No. 5 starter.
MLB Pipeline ranked Painter as the best right-handed pitching prospect in the baseby. His good friend and fellow Phillies prospect Mick Abel was also ranked in the top 10 at No. 9.
The 19 year-old Painter could be the first teenager since Mark Davis in 1980 to throw a pitch for the Phillies if he makes the rotation out of spring training. The Phillies have stayed consistent in their preference to allocate one rotation spot to a “youngster.” Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sanchez are in the mix for that spot along with Painter, Abel and Griff McGarry.
In his first full season as a professional, Painter pitched to a 1.56 ERA across three levels of the minor leagues. He finished the season with Double-A Reading and while he allowed five runs in his last outing against Altoona, that was perhaps the only time last season where Painter did not dominate the competition.
Painter spent the offseason at Cressey Sports Performance, building durability. Phillies farm director Preston Mattingly said that while there won’t be an innings limit on Painter, per se, the Phillies will monitor him closely.
Mattingly said monitoring Painter’s progress will not be a one-man job. It will be a group effort from trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, pitching coaches, front office members, and more.
The Phillies see something special in Painter, and it appears they’re not alone.
Phillies top pitching prospect Andrew Painter. Photo courtsey of Mike Janes / AP