Andrew Baker’s Electric Arsenal Has Him On Track For Phillies

In the summer of 2018, Andrew Baker went to a showcase at Chipola (Fla.) JC as a catcher. He ended up getting recruited as a righthanded pitcher.

A little over four years later, Baker is on track to arrive in the Phillies’ bullpen at some point in 2023.

As an 11-year-old pitcher, Baker took a line drive off the side of his head. The injury left him deaf in his right ear. He moved to catcher until he was 18 and did not recommit to pitching until he arrived at Chipola.

He spent time at Auburn during the Covid year of 2020, then went back to Chipola in 2021 and was drafted in the 11th round that year by the Phillies.

An elite fastball and slider immediately caught the eye of Phillies officials. Baker’s command improved in the second half of 2022, and he moved from High-A Jersey Shore to Double-A Reading.

“It’s almost like I was two different people,” Baker said. “Everything the staff was telling me just clicked. I simplified everything. I started pitching from the stretch. I started trusting my stuff. Instead of trying to throw a nasty slider, I just let it happen.”

Through July 4, Baker had a 7.23 ERA and an opponent OPS of .854 in 23.2 innings.

After that he had a 1.47 ERA and a .451 opponent OPS in 30.2 innings. In six appearances at Double-A, he allowed just three hits and a run in 10.2 innings, struck out 11 and walked five.

Baker has a muscular, 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame and an aggressive mentality that fits the bullpen. His fastball sits in the upper 90s and has touched 102 mph. His slurvy slider has power and is an out pitch.

“With his stuff, he has margin for error,” Phillies farm director Preston Mattingly said. “It was just a matter of getting him in the strike zone.

“Our staff convinced him his stuff plays in the strike zone, (so) don’t be afraid to throw it in there. The focus with Andrew was getting ahead in the count. With his stuff, he’s going to have success when he gets ahead.”

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