Will Phillies prospect Andrew Painter be the next teen phenom in 2023?

Week after week, eye-popping pitching line after eye-popping pitching line, Phillies officers attempted to place Andrew Painter’s season in context. It wasn’t simple as a result of few witnessed anything else love it.

It started in Clearwater, Fla., the place Painter accrued a 1.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 38⅔ innings over 9 begins in low-A ball. It persisted in Lakewood, N.J., excessive A, with a zero.98 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 36⅔ innings over 8 begins. And it wound up at double-A Reading, the place the 6-foot-7 right-hander had a 2.54 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 28⅓ innings over 5 begins.

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Recently, after a seven-inning, nine-strikeout gem in Painter’s 3rd double-A get started, a dialog started, most commonly for kicks, about pitchers who made a major-league get started at age 19. In the remaining twenty years, there have been 4: Julio Urías (2016), Madison Bumgarner (2009), Félix Hernández (2005), and Edwin Jackson (2003). That’s it. That’s the record.

The Phillies by no means regarded as including Painter’s title. Not this 12 months, a minimum of. But there’s nonetheless time. He doesn’t flip 20 till April 10, and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski famous over the summer season that he hasn’t ever been afraid to fast-track pitching phenoms to the large leagues after a brief stint in the minors.

“He has the capabilities to be as good as any young pitcher that I’ve been around,” Dombrowski stated this week earlier than the Phillies introduced Painter with the Paul Owens Award as their best minor league pitcher. “And when I say that, there’s been some really good ones that I’ve been around.”

Indeed, Dombrowski is one thing of knowledgeable in this space. He used to be a tender government with the Chicago White Sox when Britt Burns made his major-league debut as a 19-year-old in 1978 and a 12 months later when Richard Dotson got here up at age 20. Dombrowski used to be calling the pictures in Detroit when the Tigers gave rotation spots to 20-year-olds Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello in 2003 and 2009, respectively.

And a couple of weeks in the past, when the topic became to Painter, Dombrowski introduced up every other former whiz child: Josh Beckett.

Dombrowski ran the Florida Marlins’ baseball operations in 1999 once they drafted Beckett with the No. 2 general pick of a Texas highschool. Painter used to be Dombrowski’s first first-round pick out with the Phillies, thirteenth general remaining 12 months out of Calvary Christian High School in Florida. Like Painter, Beckett used to be tall (6-foot-5) and right-handed, with an upper-90s fastball that earned him the nickname “Kid Heat.” He additionally buckled hitters’ knees together with his curveball and slowed their bats with a changeup, secondary pitches which might be a part of Painter’s repertoire, in conjunction with a depraved slider.

Beckett spent two years on the farm earlier than getting known as up, at age 21, for the ultimate month of a 2001 season that started together with his throwing 39 consecutive scoreless innings in excessive A (Painter had a 32-inning scoreless streak this summer season) and incorporated seven innings of a blended no-hitter in double A. He had a 1.50 ERA in 4 September begins for the out-of-contention Marlins, then took an ordinary flip in their rotation in 2002.

A 12 months after that, Beckett tossed a five-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium in the clinching sport of the World Series.

“Just a heck of a competitor and great stuff,” stated Phillies 3rd base trainer Dusty Wathan, who stuck Beckett at double-A Portland in 2001. “From what I’ve seen of Painter on video — I haven’t got to see him throw in person, really — it’s kind of the same build, same arsenal. I don’t know him personally yet, but from what I hear, it could be the same thing. And if it is, man, that’s something special.”

The minor league numbers are nearly a replicate symbol.

  • Beckett in 2001: 1.54 ERA, 38.7% strikeout price, 6.5% stroll price in 140 innings over 25 begins.

  • Painter in 2022: 1.56 ERA, 38.7% strikeout price, 6.2% stroll price in 103⅔ innings over 22 begins.

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“Without drawing individual comparisons — because those end up being mighty high when you start talking about Josh Becketts and Jeremy Bondermans and Rick Porcellos, Britt Burnses, Richard Dotsons, guys who I’ve been around who pitched at 20 years old or 21 years old — [Painter] can be as good as any of those pitchers,” Dombrowski stated. “He’s got tremendous abilities, he’s a hard worker. He’s a guy that, he’s got multiple pitches. He’s a good athlete. He really almost touches everything that you want to have in a young pitcher.”

Matt Hockenberry knew all about the ones bodily attributes earlier than Painter arrived in Reading remaining month as the youngest participant in the Eastern League. But what the double-A pitching trainer needed to see for himself, and what wound up catching his consideration instantly, used to be Painter’s really feel for pitching.

In A-ball, Painter and fellow first-round pick out Mick Abel may have been efficient in the event that they threw best high-octane warmers. Instead, they labored with the coaches to refine their secondary pitches and find out about methods to easiest deploy them.

Painter, as an example, stated he spotted that double-A hitters to start with attempted to take a seat on his fastball. Once he threw his curveball and changeup extra regularly, they needed to appreciate the ones pitches. The changeup, in specific, disrupted hitters’ timing and made the fastball appear even sooner.

“The thing that is the most impressive is his mentality and maturity when it comes to legitimate baseball conversation and what he’s trying to accomplish day in and day out,” Hockenberry stated. “It isn’t just in-game pitching stuff. It’s his preparation and his understanding of how to go through a week and what he’s trying to accomplish in every bullpen before his next start. It’s just really impressive that he’s 19 years old with the maturity of an upper-level guy.”

Wathan recalled a an identical seriousness of function with Beckett and Cole Hamels. Beckett and Hamels knew they have been certain for the majors, consistent with Wathan, however sought after greater than to simply get there. They sought after to stick for a very long time.

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Painter is the Phillies’ maximum touted pitching prospect since Hamels, a first-round pick of highschool in 2002 who made his major-league debut in 2006 at age 22. Hamels would have arrived quicker if no longer for accidents, together with a damaged hand suffered in a bar battle in Clearwater earlier than the 2005 season.

Dombrowski stated Painter, Abel, and fellow pitching prospect Griff McGarry will be invited to major-league spring coaching. The Phillies will have a minimum of one emptiness in the rotation, with Kyle Gibson, Noah Syndergaard, and perhaps Zach Eflin eligible without cost company. There will be alternative.

“Nothing has been said like that,” Painter stated. “I’m going into the offseason like I always do — get in the weight room and prepare for spring training no matter what, whether it’s double A, triple A, or here throughout the year.

“It’s all moving pretty fast. It’s kind of hard to get a grip on it. I was thinking about it earlier, how this first year has gone by quick. It’s weird to think how, in the beginning of the year, I was in Clearwater, then I was at three different locations. It’s definitely moved quickly.”

If Painter makes his major-league debut next season, he would be the Phillies’ youngest pitcher since Mark Davis made 9 begins as a 20-year-old in 1981.

Does Painter suppose he’s able?

“One hundred percent,” he stated. “If they’re ready for that.”

Painter will spend the offseason in South Florida, the place he trains at Cressey Sports Performance, a facility that used to be co-founded through Phillies director of pitching Brian Kaplan. Among the pitchers who teach at Cressey: Justin Verlander, every other former phenom with a Dombrowski connection.

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The Tigers drafted Verlander with the No. 2 general pick out in 2004. Thirteen months later, at age 22, the 6-foot-5 right-hander had a 1.29 ERA and 30% strikeout price in 118⅔ innings earlier than Dombrowski known as him up immediately from double A.

Dombrowski deliberately leaves out Verlander from his record of fast-tracked pitchers as a result of the two-time Cy Young Award winner and 2011 American League MVP were given drafted out of Old Dominion. College pitchers have a tendency to transport via the minors extra briefly than highschool pitchers.

But Painter indexed Verlander as his function type. When he sees him in the offseason, he has a tendency to stay his distance. This wintry weather, they’ll have extra to speak about.

Dombrowski would inspire the dialog. Because it takes greater than skill to meet the promise of a pitching prodigy. Wathan indexed a 3rd pitcher amongst the easiest he stuck in the minors: Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-10 lefty in the Seattle Mariners group who didn’t make it out of triple A on account of shoulder accidents that both stemmed from or sparked questions on his paintings behavior.

“One thing with every one of those guys,” Dombrowski stated, list off his selection of younger pitchers, “is that they were all driven to be great. Every single one of them. They had tremendous work ethic, and even though they were good, really good, they all continued to work along those same lines. I don’t think [Painter] will fall off from a work ethic [standpoint] from what we know of him. I think he’ll only improve in that regard.

“I don’t see any reason why he cannot be as good as those guys. I think he has the chance to be a really, really fine big-league pitcher.”

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