PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The buzz surrounding Phillies pitching prospect Andrew Painter apparently isn’t limited to Philadelphia.
Painter, the Phillies’ first-round pick (13th overall) in 2021, was rated as the best pitching prospect in baseball by a group of major league executives who participated in MLB Pipeline’s 2023 poll.
He led the poll with 34% of the vote.
Painter was also voted as having the “best pitchability” — coming out with 29% of the vote.
MLB Pipeline described pitchability as: “Pitchability is most often equated with command, but it also encompasses an overall feel for pitching, how to set up hitters, what stuff to use when, and what stuff not to use if it’s not working that day.”
The website said the poll consisted of team executives “from general managers to farm directors, from scouting directors to analytics specialists.”
Painter, who turns 20 in April, had a breakout season in his second year in professional baseball.
He began the season in Single A with the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League, moved up to the Jersey Shore Blueclaws in High A, and ended in Double A with the Reading Fightin Phils.
The righty with a powering fastball combined to throw 103 2/3 innings in 22 games, striking out 155 batts, holding opponents to a .181 average, sporting a 1.56 ERA and 0.89 WHIP across three levels.
Painter dominated both low and high A and more than held his own in Double A.
With the Fightin Phils, Painter had a 2.54 ERA with 37 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP in 28 1/3 innings.
As Spring Training inches closer, speculation continues to grow that Painter could begin the 2023 season as the Phillies’ fifth starter.
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has alluded throughout the offseason that Painter, along with prospects Mick Abel and Griff McGarry, will have an opportunity to win the job in spring.
The Phillies’ rotation is set from one through four with Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez and free-agent signee Taijuan Walker. That means the fifth turn through the rotation is up for grabs.
Lefties Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sanchez will be competing with Painter, Abel and McGarry for the job.
If Painter does break Spring Training with the club, he would be the team’s youngest starting pitcher since Mark Davis (20) in 1981.
Pitchers and catchers report in just 34 days.
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