Phillies Jump At Andrew Painter's Upside In First Round
The Phillies jumped right into the riskiest prospect demographic—high school righthander—in Brian Barber's first two drafts as scouting director.
The club envisions Andrew Painter, drafted No. 13 overall this year from Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Lauderdale, joining Mick Abel, drafted No. 15 overall in 2020, at the top of its future rotation.
"That was brought up (in pre-draft meetings)," Barber said. “But it's not necessarily why we took Andrew. We evaluated Andrew unto himself.
"But when you start talking about the excitement and the upside of getting Mick last year, and then the opportunity to add Andrew to that, and those guys rising up through the minor leagues together and then hopefully one day fronting your rotation in Philadelphia, yeah, that gets us excited."
Phillies scouts were in attendance every time the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Painter took the mound in the 12 months leading up to the draft. Barber personally scouted seven of his starts.
Painter signed for $3.9 million and reported to Clearwater. The Phillies will take it slow with him, but hope to get him in some Rookie-level Florida Complex League games this summer.
"The very first time we saw him last summer, he was up to 97 (mph),” Barber said. “He has a curveball and a slider that both project to plus and a changeup that he has a really good feel for, for an 18-year-old.
"The icing on the cake was it was a guy who at that age had a feel for pitching and the ability to throw strikes. It was a complete package for us from Day One. This is a kid who desires to be great and really gets after it."
The Phillies weren't concerned about the risk of taking back-to-back high school righthanders in the first round.
"The risk is weighed on any player," Barber said. "We know the history of the draft when talking about high school pitchers, but when you're talking about the upside of Andrew, it just outweighed some of the historical risk of taking a high school pitcher."
— The Phillies fired Low-A Clearwater manager Milver Reyes in July. The team would not comment, saying it was an in-house matter.
— Outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, 22, went on a home run tear in late July and had 18 in his first 70 games for High-A Jersey Shore. The Phillies signed Ortiz out of the Dominican Republic for $4 million in July 2015.