Andrew Painter 2021 MLB Draft Profile

Andrew Painter
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Andrew Painter is one of the most fascinating prep arms in the 2021 MLB Draft. The Pompano Beach native is entering the MLB Draft as a projected first-round pick following four years at the Calvary Christian Academy. Painter has committed to Florida, but it is unlikely that he will fulfill this commitment due to his expected draft slot. According to MLB.com, Painter is the 18th overall prospect and the third-best high school arm in this year’s class behind Jackson Jobe and Anthony Solometo. In the Last Word on Sports 2021 Mock Draft, Painter was projected to go to the Cleveland Indians as the 23rd overall pick. 

Andrew Painter 2021 MLB Draft Overview

Position: RHP

Height: 6’-7″

Weight: 230 pounds

School: Calvary Christian Academy (FL)

On the surface, the most eye-popping trait for Andrew Painter is his height. At 6’7, Painter has a natural sinking action to his fastball even with his three-quarters arm slot. In addition to the sinking action, Painter has a clean, effortless delivery that is often not the case with taller pitching prospects. With a sinking fastball that sits at 93-95, he could induce a fair share of ground balls in professional ball, which would be a perfect complement to his strikeout stuff. Last season, Painter struck out 91 batters in just 45 1/3 innings with a minuscule 0.31 ERA. A big portion of his strikeouts comes from his excellent changeup. With maybe the best changeup in the class, Painter can play off his fastball well with the mid-80s offering. It is incredibly effective to both righties and lefties as it moves down and away for lefties and down and in for right-handed batters.

Strengths

The primary reason why scouts are so high on Painter is the unusual “MLB readiness” to his game as a prep arm. While many high school arms struggle with command or finding a reliable third pitch, Painter is ahead of his counterparts in this area. In high school, he issued just 41 walks in 132 innings compared to 232 strikeouts. This is good for a 5.66 strikeout to walk ratio, which is considered well above-average for his age. He achieves this command with a fastball that can not only generate swings and misses, but also weak contact. Because of Painter’s ability to become solid at generating ground balls, it could allow him to go deeper into games at the next level, a key trait for a frontline starter.

Not only does Painter possess plus command, but he also has three pitches that can be considered viable. His aforementioned fastball has excellent movement and strong mid 90s velocity and his changeup is his best-offspeed pitch, sitting in the low-to-mid 80s. He is also able to locate the changeup for strikes, low in the zone, which makes it a very versatile weapon. While it is not as effective as the changeup, the slider is another quality offering for Painter. It works perfectly off the changeup as they both offer the same plane of motion, but starkly different directions. His slider has a solid bite that moves down and in to lefties and running away from righties. It also plays well off his fastball, which gives Painter two legitimate putaway pitches.

Weaknesses

While Painter has three average or better offerings, his curveball is still a work in progress. It sits in the upper 70s and low 80s. His curveball could be an important pitch for Painter in the future because it moves vertically, a different plane than his curveball and slider. Currently, his curveball doesn’t have the spin that his slider has, making it susceptible to hanging over the plate.

Although the slider is an average delivery, Painter could still work on command. He can throw it for strikes, both in two-strike and first pitch situations, but consistency is key. There are times where it doesn’t have the same movement or precision, which makes it leak out over the plate. If his curveball doesn’t develop as it could, then it would place more emphasis on the slider and make consistent command much more important.

MLB Comparison

Despite his lower velocity, Minnesota Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson is an interesting comparison for Painter. This season, Gibson has a 51.4% groundball rate, which can largely be attributed to his sinker. In addition to the sinker, Gibson has a slider and changeup that have a .135 and .148 batting average against, respectively. He also has an occasional curveball that he throws just under 10% of the time. At 6’6, Gibson is finally coming into his own, being named an all-star for the first time in his career. This could be a realistic expectation for Painter. 

With a relatively high floor, despite being a prep arm, Andrew Painter has an excellent sinking fastball and changeup and a solid slider that could make him a reliable middle-of-the-rotation arm in MLB. If he develops his curveball, he could even become a frontline starter. 

Players Mentioned: Andrew Painter, Kyle Gibson 

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images