SF Giants Way-Too-Early 2021 MLB Draft Targets:
1. Andrew Painter, RHP, Calvary Christian Academy (FL, HS)
Right-handed high school pitchers are generally considered the highest-risk demographic in the draft. Holmes and Zaidi may not have drafted a prep-righty in the top-ten rounds yet, but that’s really only a technicality. Trevor McDonald, a high school right-hander, received the third-highest signing bonus of the organization’s 2019 draft class.
Andrew Painter is everything McDonald was and more. He’s already earned comparisons to Mick Abel by combining an advanced four-pitch mix with a powerful 6’6”-230 lbs frame. Unlike Abel though, Painter has never flashed premium velocity or faced significant injury questions.
Painter’s fastball sits in the low-90s, although it has touched 96 mph, but plays up from strong spin rates and extension in his delivery. His propensity to generate spin translates to his low-80s slider and mid-70s curveball as well. Both have flashes as plus big-league pitches. While his least developed pitch, he’s had flashes of feel for a changeup as well.
On the surface, it might seem impossible for Painter to fall to 14 barring poor performance or injury. However, the strength of the prep pitching class next year might lead teams to wait on prep arms, betting on their chances to get a similarly talented prospect later. Furthermore, with college arms like Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter available, teams more inclined to draft pitchers at the top of the draft may have enough other options for Painter to slide.
If he does, his profile checks off nearly every box we’ve seen Zaidi and Holmes target in pitching prospects: spin, feel for breaking stuff, and a strong track record of health.
Recent Giants Draft Pick Comp: Upgraded Right-Handed Kyle Harrison
Every scouting department is in for quite a unique experience in the 2021 MLB Draft. The COVID-19 pandemic cost many prospects one of their most important opportunities to get scouts attention. Without a full 2020 season, performances in 2019 and 2021 will be even more important than usual. How the SF Giants balance the information could have a massive impact on their franchise for years to come.