Phillies Spring Training 2024

Phillies prospect Mick Abel's main goal for 2024

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As he gears up for his fourth minor-league season, Phillies pitching prospect Mick Abel has a specific goal in mind:

"Lowering the walks per nine. Objectively, that's my biggest goal," Abel said Thursday from Phillies camp. "It's not something I really think about too much, it just comes with command and conviction over the plate."

Abel, drafted 15th overall by the Phillies in 2020, enters the season as the No. 49 prospect in the minors as ranked by He was the first high school pitcher drafted in 2020 and he's now 22 years old. He's made 60 starts, the last of which came at Triple A, where he is expected to spend most of the 2024 season.

Walks have been an issue for Abel each year. He's walked 142 batters in 266⅓ minor-league innings, 4.8 per nine innings. That's not going to cut it and is a primary reason why he's averaged just 4.4 innings per start.

With top pitching prospect Andrew Painter sidelined for 2024 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July, even more focus will be on Abel this season. The Phillies have high hopes for both and are waiting for Abel to break out. There is a foundation from last season for him to build off. Abel allowed one run or none in 12 of his 23 starts and gave up more than two only seven times. Unsurprisingly, two of his three best starts of the year were outings over the span of a week in April and May when he walked nobody.

Abel pitched three innings in big-league spring training games a year ago and is likely to receive more work in this camp. He's also expected to participate in the Phillies' Spring Breakout game against the Tigers' top prospects on March 16 in Lakeland.

"Everything felt good," he said after Thursday's bullpen session. "Just working on tempo and conviction over the plate. Also knowing when my mentality has to be over the plate versus over the rubber. I was able to separate them pretty good for how early it is."

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