No. 1 and No. 2 prospects complete one-two punch for BlueClaws

August 7th, 2022

A prime example of a one-two punch was on full display in High-A Jersey Shore.

First- and second-ranked Phillies prospects Andrew Painter and Mick Abel dominated and struck out a combined 19 batters in a doubleheader for the BlueClaws against Hudson Valley, on Saturday.

“Both of them just had their stuff going tonight,” pitching coach Brad Bergesen said. “They really both set the tone early on in the game and I really saw them kind of control the game from their first pitch to their last pitch of the night.”

In the first game of the doubleheader, Mick Abel whiffed eight batters in six scoreless innings en route to an 8-2 victory over the Renegades. The 20-year-old retired nine of the first 12 batters he faced before allowing his first hit in the fourth inning. He worked around three total hits and three walks in his appearance. Abel tossed 93 total pitches -- 63 for strikes.

This was the second consecutive scoreless appearance for MLB’s No. 53 overall prospect after he'd fallen into a 10-game stretch of at least one run allowed. However, the righty continues to work to build trust in his game.

“Really he’s kind of getting back just getting a good understanding with what he's doing,” said Bergesen. “Conviction and really keeping the quote-unquote 'foot on the gas' has been a big thing for him. And really just getting him to trust his stuff and buy into it and really attacking the zone, being aggressive and working ahead.”

The power on the mound wouldn’t stop there for the South Atlantic League team. In the second game, baseball’s No. 51 overall prospect, Painter, went the distance and whiffed 11 batters in a 2-0 shutout.

The 19-year-old started the game rolling, with a three-pitch strikeout to the first batter. Painter then went on to retire seven batters before allowing his first hit in the third inning. He threw 56 strikes in his 79 total pitches and only allowed two hits.

“They're very talented pitchers,” said Bergesen. “They have plus stuff and it's really just trying to give them a simplified plan and simplified approach and giving [a way] them just to attack the zone with their strengths and their pitches.”

While it is easy to draw comparisons and view the similarities between the two first-round picks, what they mostly shared in the contest was their demeanor and work on the bump.

“Their fastball is both upper 90s. So they both have plus fastballs and plus secondary offerings,” said Bergesen. “Both of them had a really good secondary tonight and had command in the zone with it.

“Having them back to back tonight, especially since it was a doubleheader and being able to have them do what they do tonight was tremendous for the team and it was a great team effort. A lot of credit to those guys that were behind the dish between Herbert Iser and [Arturo] De Freitas tonight, how they handled them with their game calling and then working with them, my credit goes to them as well. It was two good wins and two complete wins from the entire team.”