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March 01, 2023

Andrew Painter watch: Top Phillies prospect brings the heat in spring debut

Painter pitched just two innings but brought a fastball that topped out at 99 mph.

The Phillies' top prospect Andrew Painter made his spring debut against the Twins on Wednesday and he came out firing. 

The 19-year old right-hander threw only two innings, striking just out one and surrendering an earned run off three hits, but recorded each of his six outs largely through an off-speed cutter and a four-seam fastball that topped out at 99 mph

Minus a base hit from Minnesota's Carlos Correa, Painter got out of the first inning down in Fort Myers relatively clean, but ran into a jam in the second, when he surrendered back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with no outs. 

He got Kyle Farmer to fly into a double play that still allowed the runner to score from third but limited the damage there when Michael A. Taylor grounded out to short for the third out. 

In total, Painter faced eight batters on Wednesday, throwing 29 pitches and 18 of them for strikes, the bulk of which were thrown really, really hard. 

"Just going out there, working on stuff," Painter said after his outing and a 4-4 tie (via The Inquirer's Scott Lauber). "Obviously, it's early. Felt satisfied with the cutters that I threw, was pretty fastball-heavy today, would've liked to be in the zone a little more, and that's something I'll build off of going into the next start.

"But really just trying to focus on getting ahead early. I fell behind in a lot of counts and that's where, you know, going to hitter's counts and give them a heater, they're gonna hit it."

The fifth spot in the Phillies' starting rotation is up for grabs by one of their young arms and Painter, even at just 19-years old, has been considered the frontrunner for it by many going back to the winter after he surged through the club's minor league system in 2022.

He impressed everyone coming into camp and this was only the first look at him in game action, but there's still a ways to go this spring and the Phillies' are probably far from showing their hand just yet, especially when other top farms arms Mick Abel and Griff McGarry are in the mix too. 

"We got a good group to pick from and it's gonna be a battle," Thomson said a couple of weeks back

MORE: Rhys Hoskins' future with the Phillies is 'uncertain'

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