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MLB Draft 2021: RHP Andrew Painter, potential Dodgers first-round pick

Dodgers have drafted two high school pitchers in the first round in the last 10 years.

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Panama v USA - WBSC U-15 World Cup Super Round Final Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

MLB Draft weekend is here, just two days away from the first round. The various national prospect experts are coming in hot with their final mock drafts.

Kiley McDaniel at ESPN in the third version of his mock draft has the Dodgers taking Wake Forest pitcher Ryan Cusick in the first round. We profiled Cusick back in May.

From Keith Law’s latest mock draft at The Athletic, we have a new player to discover. He has the Dodgers drafting Andrew Painter, a pitcher from Calvary Christian High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“The Dodgers have shown no fear of taking high-upside and high-dollar high school arms, even if those guys might not sign (J.T. Ginn),” Law wrote. “Painter was supposed to be a mid-first round pick, and was better after a rough start to the spring.”

Since taking two-sport star Zach Lee in 2010, the Dodgers have picked 15 players in the first round of the last 10 drafts. Only two were high school pitchers — Grant Holmes in 2014, and J.T. Ginn in 2018. Ginn did not sign, choosing Mississippi State instead.

In his mock draft at ESPN, McDaniel wrote, “Colorado prep RHP Alec Willis is also tied to the Dodgers at a later pick.” The Dodgers next pick after the first round comes at No. 101 overall, the final pick of the third round.

As for Painter, he’s the second-highest-rated draft prospect we’ve seen linked to the Dodgers, behind only Ole Miss right-hander Gunnar Hoglund, whose 2021 season was cut short by Tommy John surgery. Painter is ranked between 15th and 24th on the various prospect lists.

MLB Pipeline rated the 6’7 Painter as the No. 18 prospect in this draft:

There are high school pitchers who garner a lot of attention because of huge raw stuff, and there are prep arms who have an advanced feel for pitching. When the two come together in one prospect, there’s the chance for something special. Painter showed off that exciting combination of raw stuff and feel for pitching at a number of showcase events over the summer to establish himself as one of the best high school pitchers in the 2021 Draft class. He did nothing to dampen those expectations, striking out 54 percent of the batters he faced during his senior year en route to Gatorade state high school player of the year honors.

Painter pitched for USA Baseball in the 2015 WBSC U-15 World Cup in Panama, and was a part of the national team development program after that.

“Painter’s fastball velocity climbed throughout the 2020 summer, and he wrapped sitting 94-97 during his last abbreviated showcase outing,” wrote Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs, who ranked Painter 21st. “He has three other pitches: a mid-80s changeup, a mid-70s curveball, and a mid-80s slider that has cuttery, horizontal action right now, but for which Painter has good arm-side feel.”

Painter has a college commitment to the University of Florida.