School: Missouri State University
Selected 2014 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (23): Nick Petree was not discussed much during the community vote. He quickly won at #23. UncleDenny compared him with Mike Mayers, who wound up at #25 in the overall countdown.
UncleDenny suggested that 2015 will be pivotal for Petree, who worked his way up in the system this year. Whcardsfan likes how Petree finished the season with a cumulative ERA of 2.51, despite struggling in his one season-ending start at Double-A Springfield. - Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore: Petree debuted on The Cardinal Nation top 40 list last winter with the 34th ranking. After his first full season of professional ball in the books, the former Missouri State pitcher moves up 14 spots.
He delivered a strong 2014 season during which he jumped up from Class-A Peoria, to High-A Palm Beach, the level at which he spent most of his time, to finally making one start for Double-A Springfield. His performance earned him his second TCN Starter of the Year in as many seasons, adding the Palm Beach Cardinals honor in 2014 to his State College award the year prior.
The 2013 ninth-rounder sailed through Peoria, only needing four starts with an ERA of 1.29 at the level. With Palm Beach, Petree went 6-5 with a 2.44 ERA in 17 starts. He led the team in innings pitched (103 1/3), strikeouts (80), ERA and was second in starts.
Although he made only one start for Springfield, which was a rough one, he did accomplish a goal set at the beginning of 2014. That was to end the season at the city where he pitched during his college days, Springfield.
Petree does not have overpowering stuff, but what makes him so unique is his ability to change speeds and locate all four of his effective offerings with precision. He gets very good deception from a high leg-kick in his delivery which makes his stuff seem overpowering even if the radar gun indicates otherwise.
Petree defines the scouting term “pitchability” in every way. He just knows how to pitch and there’s no doubt in my mind that it can translate to the upper levels. He can be exploited due to the small margin for error on his fastball velocity, which makes it crucial for him to minimize mistakes over the plate.
I see Petree staying at Springfield, where he ended the 2014 season. His 2015 should be quite the “homecoming” and the familiarity should give him an advantage over others.
Brian Walton (17): For me, this selection is about results. As Cardinals coaches like to say, when players reach the upper levels of the system, they need to translate potential into production. Petree (pronounced PEE-tree) is the rare case in which there was not a line to cross. He was already there.
Dann Bilardello was Petree’s manager for most of the season at Palm Beach and will likely continue as his skipper at Double-A Springfield in 2015. I guess it is a good thing that the former Major League catcher is a supporter.
“He was able to throw a lot of strikes and that is what he does really, really, really well,” Bilardello noted. “He keeps the ball down, mixes in his off-speed pitches really well and keeps them off balance. He pitches in. He pitches down.”
One of his pitching coaches told me that they actually wanted Petree to throw a few less strikes, as odd as it sounds.
The manager believes that Petree’s polish, much of it gained while at Missouri State, helped him to excel in his first full season as a professional.
“He is a competent kid,” Bilardello observed. “He is a kid who had a lot of success in college. It doesn’t always translate to the pro level right away but he has done a nice job here.”
In Petree’s case, it is not the stuff, but how he handles all elements of his job that impresses scouts and coaches alike.
“His attitude and the way he goes about his pitching, I think he will have success ahead,” Bilardello forecasts.
To this point, I have seen no reason to disagree.
Our 2015 top 40 series continues: To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the top 40 countdown and nine in-depth, follow-up articles. Most of the latter are exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.
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