Andrew Painter named Baseball America's Minor League Pitcher of the Year


Five pitchers were taken ahead of Andrew Painter in the 2021 MLB draft, all college arms.

Yet in just a year and a half, the 19-year-old has become perhaps the most interesting prospect in his class.

Painter has been named Baseball America's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, the outlet's first recipient as it now separates pitchers from position players. 

The buzz around Painter will continue to grow after his absurd success in 22 starts this season. He dominated at each stop, striking out 69 in 38⅔ innings with a 1.40 ERA at Class A Clearwater, posting a 0.98 ERA at High A Jersey Shore and then striking out 37 with two walks in five starts with Double A Reading. He was one of the youngest players in both the South Atlantic League and Eastern League.

All in all, Painter had a 1.56 ERA in 103⅔ innings this season with 155 strikeouts and 25 walks. His opponents hit .181 with five home runs in 401 plate appearances.

Painter was at Citizens Bank Park last week to receive the 2022 Paul Owens Award, presented annually to the organization's top minor-league hitter and pitcher. It's possible that he could help the Phillies on that very mound as soon as next season, at age 20.

Baseball America makes note of how quickly Painter has put himself on the radar of his big-league club compared to most high-level high school arms, citing examples like Dylan Cease and Max Fried, who reached the majors six years after being drafted.

"Beyond just the impressive numbers, Painter displays dominant characteristics on par with some of the game’s best pitchers," J.J. Cooper writes. "Armed with a four-pitch arsenal, his fastball sits 96-98 mph with plus-plus induced vertical break. He features a sweepy low-80s slider as his primary secondary pitch. It averages nearly a foot of horizontal break. His high-70s curveball and upper-80s changeup provide change-of-pace offerings to play off of his fearsome one-two punch. It’s a powerful and refined pitch mix rare among even the best teenage pitchers."

Painter completed seven innings three times this season and made it through six in eight of his 22 starts, laying the foundation for the sort of workload he expects to take down in the future. 

"It's about work ethic," he said last week. "Starters here are going 150 to 200 innings, so to be able to go through that workload, you have to be able to sustain that."

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