Major League Baseball’s offseason is in full swing, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You’re either selling wins or you’re selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team’s farm system.
Of course, that doesn’t mean every team has an equally good farm system — some, as you’ll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next few weeks examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define “prospects” as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2023 season, so if a young player is missing that’s likely why.
These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There’s also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it’s fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 20 list by clicking here.
With that in mind, let’s get to it by dissecting the Philadelphia Phillies.
1. Andrew Painter, RHP, No. 14 on top 20 (2023 seasonal age: 20)
Painter, a 6-foot-7 righty, was the Phillies’ first-round pick in 2021. He’s since rocketed through the system, finishing last season with five starts in Double-A. Overall, he tallied a 1.56 ERA and a 6.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103 innings. Painter has a broad arsenal that includes an upper-90s fastball that can clear the 100-mph mark, two breaking balls, and a changeup. He’s shown good control, too, walking about two batters per nine last season, including just two across 28 frames at Double-A. Painter should make his big-league debut in 2023, perhaps earlier than expected, and may give the National League champions another big-time starting pitcher.
2. Mick Abel, RHP (2023 seasonal age: 21)
History is by and large unkind to prep right-handers taken early in the first round. The Phillies have defied the odds thus far with Painter, and they have a chance to do the same with Abel, the 15th pick in 2020. Armed with a mid-90s fastball and a good slider, he split last season between High- and Double-A, amassing a 3.90 ERA and a 2.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio across a career-high 108 innings. Abel’s walked more batters than you’d like as a professional (about one every other inning), but there’s plenty to like here.
3. Griff McGarry, RHP (2023 seasonal age: 23)
Whereas the Phillies used premium draft capital to land Painter and Abel, they plucked McGarry in the fifth round in 2021 by way of the University of Virginia. He’s since emerged as a quality mid-rotation prospect on the strength of a deep arsenal. McGarry, like Abel, has walked too many batters as a professional — his career rate is over five per nine, and he issued nine free passes during a seven-game span to close out the year in the Triple-A bullpen. McGarry should make his big-league debut this season in some capacity or another.