MLB Draft: Prospect Profile - Andrew Painter (RHP)
Prep right-handers are a risky profile, but Florida Gators commit Andrew Painter is a polished prospect possibly available for the White Sox at No. 22 next month.
This week Patrick Flowers pinch-hit over at Future Sox with a prospect report on prep right-hander Andrew Painter. Be sure to follow Future Sox for their complete and comprehensive library of 2021 MLB Draft profiles and coverage!
NAME: Andrew Painter
SCHOOL: Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’6″, 210 lbs
D.O.B.: April 10, 2003
PREVIOUSLY DRAFTED: No
When you see the excitement over a prep right-hander, it’s usually because they’re lighting up radar guns with a fastball that touches triple digits. With Andrew Painter, you’re not going to see the radar gun flash triple digits, but the 18-year-old right-hander brings a much more complete package to the table with his still impressive low-mid nineties fastball.
Painter, who checks in at six-foot-six (MLB Pipeline has Painter listed at six-foot-six, but Perfect Game has Painter listed at six-foot-seven and 230 pounds), works in the 93-95 mph range with his fastballs (Painter throws both the two-seam and four-seam variations) and can get it up to 96 mph, often challenging hitters with the fastball up in the zone in search of swings and misses.
The Florida Gators commit also employs a slider that hangs around in the mid-eighties and a 12-to-6 curveball in the upper seventies. MLB Pipeline has Painter graded out at 55 on that curveball and 50 on the slider, but it’s his changeup that MLB Pipeline calls a “potentially plus” offering that he put on display in the showcase circuit.
Despite his six-foot-six, 210-pound frame, Painter looks athletic on the mound, and Baseball America compared him to 2020 first-rounder Mick Abel. Abel was six-foot-six, 230 pounds, and has a pretty loose delivery coupled with a three-quarter arm slot.
Organizations tend to shy away from prep right-handers in the first round, but Painter brings a pretty robust skillset to the table. Despite not hitting the high nineties with his fastball, Painter will, well, paint. His four-pitch mix and his well-established track record for throwing strikes make Painter a fascinating first-round prospect, one who could potentially go inside the top 10 if a team falls in love with him next month.
MLB Pipeline has Painter ranked No. 18 on their 2021 MLB Draft prospect rankings, while Baseball America has him ranked No. 19.
Scouting grades courtesy of mlbpipeline.com.
Prospect Overview and Future Outlook
Again, the right-hander prep pitcher is a risky profile for a first-round pick, but Painter checks most of — if not all of — the boxes that you need to have checked to take a crack at a high school righty in the first round of the draft. Painter is the clear number two prep arm in this year’s draft behind fellow right-hander Jackson Jobe, and his upside is real if he can continue to throw strikes at the pro level.
Painter’s four-pitch mix and is attractive when it comes to future outlook as his fastball, curveball, and changeup all have plus pitch potential, and his ability to go up the ladder and get swings and misses with his fastball even despite it not possessing upper nineties velocity makes it realistic that he can live up to the first round billing out of high school.
It’s doubtful Painter ever makes it to Gainesville.
Despite, According to MaxPreps, striking out 91 opposing hitters in 45.1 innings of work (18.1 K/9), posting an ERA of just 0.31, and holding opposing hitters to a .119 batting average, Painter fell out of favor as the consensus top prep right-hander in the draft, an honor now believed to belong to Jackson Jobe.
The small slide in his stock has it very likely that Painter is available when the White Sox pick at No. 22 next month, and some experts have Painter heading to Chicago.
Baseball America has Painter heading to the Bronx at No. 20 in their most recent mock draft (4.0), but Jim Callis has him heading to the Southside of Chicago in his May 26 mock draft over at MLB.com. Dan Zielinski over at Baseball Prospect Journal also has Painter going to the White Sox at No. 22 in his most recent mock draft. Kiley McDaniel at ESPN has Painter going as high as No. 17 to the Reds in his version 1.0 mock draft.
Potential fit with the White Sox
For as good as the White Sox rotation has been at the major league level in 2021 — and it’s been about as good as anyone could have potentially expected — the White Sox rotation isn’t clear in the long-term. Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon are free agents after the season, and 33-year-old Dallas Keuchel has shown signs of regression despite the club having him under control through 2023 if they chose to do so.
Sure, Michael Kopech figures to be a mainstay in the rotation as soon as 2022, and Garrett Crochet might factor into that equation, but you really can’t have enough pitching these days. Pitchers are volatile, and if they find success at the major league level, they become costly. So, drafting high-upside arms is always a plan I can get behind.
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