2021 MLB mock draft: Will Phillies land top-rated high school pitcher for second year in row?

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Will Phillies land top-rated high school pitcher for second year in row? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies selected the top high school pitching talent in the 2020 draft and they could do so again in 2021.

Baseball America is out with its first mock draft of the New Year and the publication has the Phillies grabbing Andrew Painter from Calvary Christian High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with the 13th overall pick. The publication pegs Painter as the first high school arm to be selected "after he established himself as the clear-cut top prep pitcher last summer."

Back in June, the Phillies selected Mick Abel, a right-hander from Portland, Oregon, with the 15th overall pick. He was the top-rated high school pitcher and first to be selected in that draft. On draft day, first-year Phillies scouting director Brian Barber called the 6-5 right-hander "a potential future workhorse and dominating presence at the top of a rotation." On the day he was unveiled as new Phillies president of baseball operations last month, Dave Dombrowski talked about how impressed he was with the 19-year-old prospect, who showed an electric repertoire of pitches in the fall instructional league.

Like Abel, Painter has a classic pitcher's build and projects to be a power pitcher.

"He has a strong, 6-foot-6 frame with more projection remaining, a fastball that regularly gets into the mid-90s, a feel for spinning two distinct breaking balls, good feel for a changeup and projects for above-average control," the BA report said. "While teams are becoming more leery of taking high school right-handers in the first round, Painter has all the traits you want to see in one."

Of course, none of this guarantees the Phillies will take Painter. Much will be dictated by what other clubs do with the top 12 picks in the draft — where four college pitchers are projected to go — and there's always the chance that the Phillies, who start prepping for drafts years ahead of time, have other players rated ahead of Painter. Mock drafts can be a fun way to inject a little baseball warmth into a gray January day, but they are not etched in stone.

BA projects Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker to go first in the draft to the Pirates.

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