TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #34: Nick Petree

Taken in the ninth round of the 2013 draft, the former Missouri State star drew a difference in opinion between our voters. Today's report is FREE!

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA RHS 7/6/1990 6-1 195 R R 2013 9th

School: Missouri State University

Selected 2013 stats

SC 3 1 1.62 4.58 12 9 0 55.2 46 11 2 16 46 1.06 0.230 0.300

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (NR): Ninth round selection Nick Petree, a Missouri native and former Missouri State ace, was unranked by the community in his first year of being a prospect.

In his initial and brief professional debut, Petree ranked fourth among State College pitchers in ERA at 1.62 in 12 starts (55.2 IP). He allowed the third lowest number of walks among starters in that rotation, and really kept runners off base well with one of the lower WHIPs on the staff at 1.11.

Former Baseball America writer and now prospect expert Jim Callis described Petree as the "college version of Greg Maddux". That is bit of an exaggeration as Maddux is unique in his own way, but Callis was referring to the fact that Petree has a great feel for pitching, ability to command all of his pitches for strikes, and the movement Petree can get on all his pitches which makes him so tough to hit. He really works off that, all of which is more notable than his pure stuff.

Petree was one of sleepers of the 2013 draft and so far has not disappointed one bit. Supposedly after being drafted, Petree saw a spike in velocity as he can now ramp it up in the low 90s rather than in the mid 80s where he was throwing for most of his college career. He basically fits the bill as what you call a wily-veteran - as he is just a flat out pitch-maker. His type of skill set seems to translate pretty well into pro ball.

2014 will be Petree's first full season in the system so it is obviously going to be a summer of adjustments. If he stays healthy, I could see him throwing in Peoria pretty much the entire season for his first extended workload. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (28): This placement is my single biggest disconnect with the community vote for 2014 and I believe is one of the largest in our years of doing these rankings.

I can understand some of reason for it as Petree does not throw upper-90's heat and many of his stats do not jump off the page. His strikeout rate of 7.4 per nine innings was good, but not eye-popping. A walk rate of 2.6 per nine is respectable, but not necessarily as strong as one might expect from a control artist. Yet, there is an explanation for the latter.

What may have impressed me most about the 23-year-old was when our local correspondent, Robert Davidson, reported the reason for the uptick in Petree's walk rate from college. It had much less to do with the selectivity of professional hitters than it did with a change in approach directed by his coaches.

Petree was simply throwing too many strikes. State College manager Oliver Marmol and pitching coach Dernier Orozco actually directed Petree to start throwing more balls in an attempt to get hitters to chase bad pitches.

The 275th overall pick in 2013 pitched 156 total innings this year between his time at Missouri State and with the Cardinals. Although he tired by September, Petree put together an impressive season. In fact, our State College Starting Pitcher of the Year finished just 4 1/3 innings short of winning the New York-Penn League ERA title.

Time will tell if this collegiate Greg Maddux can come anywhere close to the professional version, but Petree's 2013 was a nice start.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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