Phillies Star Pitching Prospect Among 'Biggest Droppers' in Updated Rankings

It's been a tough season for one of the Philadelphia Phillies top prospects and his latest drop in MLB Pipeline's rankings ug
Feb 25, 2024; Clearwater, Florida, USA;  Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mick Abel (74)
Feb 25, 2024; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mick Abel (74) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Two years ago, it looked like the Philadelphia Phillies would have two potential star pitchers emerging from their pipeline who could give them help at some point when they were ready.

Ranked as their two best pitching prospects, Andrew Painter and Mick Abel looked poised to hit the MLB on a similar timeline together.

Then, Painter was shut down early in 2023 after suffering a UCL sprain that required him to get season-ending Tommy John surgery. This will likely keep him sidelined for the entirety of 2024.

Despite him being their top ranked prospect, he was still further away than Abel based on age and timeline, so the Phillies' attention shifted to their No. 2 overall prospect with him ending last year in Triple-A.

Unfortunately, things have not gone well for Abel this season.

Across his six starts, he has posted an ERA of 5.60. The most concerning thing is his strikeout numbers have taken a massive hit with only 26 K's across 27 1/3 innings pitched after being around a 1.23 strikeouts per inning at his previous stops.

It's clear facing this level of hitting has been an adjustment for the 22-year-old, and that's a major reason why he was one of the "biggest droppers" in MLB Pipeline's updated rankings.

"Abel's fastballs are down a tick early on to an average in the 93-94 mph range, and on top of continuing control woes, his slider has looked like his only true above-average pitch early," writes Sam Dykstra.

That is a concerning assessment.

There was some thought that Philadelphia might call up the youngster towards the end of the year and give him some reps against Major League hitters when rosters expand.

However, that might not be the case if Abel can't turn things around and adjust to what he's facing in Triple-A.

The star prospect is still young and he's only pitched in seven games at that level, so it's way too early to say that he won't live up to being the pitcher that was selected 15th overall in 2020.

But right now, his struggles have caused him to go from being considered the 44th-best prospect to the 63rd.

Brad Wakai


Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently is the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. He is also a contributor at FanSided, writing about the Philadelphia 76ers for The Sixers Sense. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai