In October of 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies hired Brian Barber as their new Director of Amateur Scouting, moving on from Johnny Almaraz, who had been with the team since 2014 and was in charge of five drafts. Brian Barber brought a lofty legacy with him to Philadelphia, one which involves him being an influential voice in the New York Yankees drafting Aaron Judge in the first round of the 2013 MLB draft. Barber’s job with the Phillies is to take a barren farm system and turn it around into a respectable part of the Phillies organization. So far, it has yielded possibly the best trio of Phillies pitching prospects in the organization’s history and could be the start of a new era in Phillies prospect development. Here is a brief breakdown of the trio for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Mick Abel: 2020: Round 1, Pick 15
In a pandemic-shortened season, Mick Abel was seen as the number one High School right-hander in the draft. He is 6 foot 5 with a quick arm and a fastball that sits quite comfortably in the mid-90s. He also offers a plus mid-80s slider that could develop into a pitch that gets him outs. He has a changeup and a slow curveball that have shown glimpses of effectiveness, but they are not at the level of his fastball and slider. He has shown some issues with command in the past, but in 2022 he improved his strike-throwing rate and maintained his high strikeout totals with a 2.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 2022 he put up a 3.90 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 130 strikeouts, and 50 walks in 108.1 innings pitched with two teams. Expect Mick to start out the year in triple-A and possibly make the big league club sometime in late 2023.
Andrew Painter: 2021: Round 1, Pick 13
In 2021 the Phillies selected two High School pitchers in the first round for the first time since they drafted Cole Hamels and Gavin Floyd in back-to-back years. Fans quickly had visions of Andrew Painter and Mick Abel ascending through the Phillies system together and anchoring the big league rotation for years to come. And they had a good reason to think that. Andrew Painter dominated three levels of the minor leagues in just his first full season. A mix of his tall 6 foot 7 frame, blazing fast fastball, and excellent command for someone his age is catching the eyes of people everywhere. He was good enough to jump all the way up to number 6 on the MLB top 100 prospects list. He dazzled with a 1.56 ERA, 155 strikeouts, 25 walks, a 0.89 WHIP, and a 6.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103.2 innings pitched with three teams. If Painter impresses in spring training this year, he could break camp with the major league club, joining a rotation of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, and Taijuan Walker.
Griff McGarry: 2021: Round 5, Pick 145
Griff McGarry is becoming a steal for the Phillies from the 2021 draft. Drafted in the middle of the 5th round, McGarry has always had exceptional stuff. It was just a matter of keeping it in the strike zone. He cut his walk rate down from 8.9 walks per nine in college to a much more manageable 5.2 walks per nine in the minors. His fastball sits at around 98-99, and he can hit up to triple digits. In college, he was known for a nasty slider that produced a 67 percent miss rate. He has a curve that can miss bats as well and a changeup that he is continuing to work on. In 2022 he had a 3.71 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 130 strikeouts, and 53 walks with a 2.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 87.1 innings with three teams. He will likely join Mick Abel in triple-A to start the season but is very likely to play a bullpen role down the stretch for the team in 2023.