Phillies use 1st-round draft pick on another high school power pitcher


For the second year in a row, the Phillies selected a high school power pitcher in the first round of the draft.

The team tabbed 6-7 right-hander Andrew Painter with the 13th overall pick on Sunday night.

A year ago, the team selected 6-5 right-hander Mick Abel with the 15th overall pick.

If all goes well in the development process, the Phils could one day have a pair of physically imposing pitchers at the top of their rotation with Abel and Painter.

"Yes, that was brought up," said Brian Barber, the team's scouting director. "But it's not necessarily why we took Andrew. There are two separate conversations to be had there. We evaluated Andrew unto himself. And then it was as 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."

Painter, 18, is strong-bodied and 230 pounds. He comes out of Calvary Christian High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he went 6-1 with a 0.31 ERA as a senior and struck out 91 batters in 45⅓ innings. He was the state's Gatorade player of the year. He played high school ball with Dante Girardi, son of the Phillies manager. Dante just completed his freshman season at Florida International University.

"Joe was always around," Painter said. "He'd be out there raking the field. We have a good relationship."


Painter got high marks from Girardi as a person and a pitching prospect.

"Makeup is one of the main things we look at," Barber said. "We had Joe in our back pocket because he's known Andrew since he's been 15. Every little bit of information helps and that was definitely a positive. This is a kid who desires to be great and really gets after it."

Painter is committed to the University of Florida, but he's ready to get his pro career started.

"This is an unreal moment," he said. "It's something I worked hard for and it's just the beginning of it."

Phillies scouts were in attendance every time Painter took the mound over the last 12 months. Barber personally scouted seven of his starts.

"He's a large human being, you notice that immediately," Barber said. "Then you start digging into the baseball attributes. The delivery is an excellent starting point. The arm action works really well. And he just has really good stuff.

"The very first time we saw him last summer, he was up to 97 mph. 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 that at that age had a feel for pitching and the ability to throw strikes. It was a complete package for us from Day 1."

High school pitchers, particularly right-handers, have traditionally represented the largest risk demographic in the draft. The Phillies have now gone that route two years in a row since Barber became scouting director.

"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.

"But we also get into some things that scouting departments did not get into 10, 15 years ago. Things like slow-motion video, biomechanical research, pitch-metric testing and data. I think we're better scouting departments than we were 10, 15, 20 years ago and that led to some of that historical data, as well."

The draft continues Monday and runs through Tuesday. The Phillies will pick 49th overall, 84th overall, and 114th overall and then will have the 13th pick in rounds five through 20.

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