Scouting Phils Prospect #3 Jonathan Pettibone

Some of the top young pitchers in the Phillies organization are working their way toward the top of the minor league system. Jonathan Pettibone is right up there among the best in the organization and could be opening the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Jonathan Pettibone

Position: Starting Pitcher
Bats/Throws: Left / Right
Birthday/Age: July 19, 1990 (22)
Ht/Wt: 6' 5", 200 pounds

How he became a Phillie: Drafted by the Phillies in the third round - 110th overall pick - of the 2008 Draft out of Esperanza HS in Anaheim, California.

Repertoire: Pettibone throws the basic fastball, change-up and curve. The fastball has gained some velocity over the past couple seasons and sits generally in the low-90s. The change and curve are also good pitches that Pettibone has shown a lot of progress with over the past couple seasons. The key is that Pettibone can command all three of his pitches and hammers away at the strike zone, but without worrying too much about striking out every hitter.

Jonathan Pettibone's league comparisons*

STATS Eastern League Averages for 2012 Pettibone's EL Averages
ERA 3.91 3.30
WHIP 1.3 1.2
H/9 IP 8.9 8.8
HR/9 IP 0.7 0.7
BB/9 IP 3.3 2.1
K/9 IP 7.3 6.2
K/BB 2.2 3.0
WP/9 IP 0.5 0.3
* We used Pettibone's 2012 numbers from Double-A Reading, since he made just seven starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season.

Scouting Report: Jonathan Pettibone is one of those guys who was somewhat overlooked by a lot of scouting services coming into the 2008 Draft. He wasn't even thought of as one of the top pitching prospects out of California and it looked like he would take the scholarship that USC had offered him and head off to school looking to improve his draft stock. But the Phillies saw something in him and overlooked the fact that his mechanics were somewhat weak and his fastball topped out in the mid-to-upper-80s and was his only above average pitch. Not only did the Phillies overlook that, they took him in the third round, much higher than he might have figured to go, if only because he had a solid scholarship offer to lean on. The Phillies then took it a step further and paid him over-slot money to sign, helping to get past the free ride at USC.

The Phillies went to work on his mechanics and the velocity started to improve. Before long, he was consistently hitting 90, where before that was a reach for him. Since then, he's pumped it up even further and has it comfortably in the low-90s. His secondary pitches have improved greatly, too, which was an important step in his development.

Pettibone has great command of his pitches and doesn't issue many walks. He also doesn't strike out a ton of hitters, averaging 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings in his minor league career. Instead, Pettibone relies on making hitters hit their way on base and he relies on his fielders to keep him from getting into situations where he has to record extra outs. 

Ceiling: At 22, Pettibone could still learn a lot and continue to develop. Right now, he figures as a definite middle of the rotation type starter, with the ability to climb even a little higher in a major league rotation. He certainly needs more work in the minors, but as long as better quality hitters aren't able to get a read on his pitches, he should be able to keep moving ahead. With his command, he moves the ball in and out and is down in the strike zone, giving him the real tools that he needs to be successful.

ETA: Pettibone needs at least one more full season of minor league ball and possibly a little more. It's likely that in 2014, he'll be looked at as major league insurance, although if he's pitching well this season and the Phillies need a reinforcement, they could call on him in 2013. Certainly for the 2015 season, Pettibone should be looking for a spot to call his own in the Phillies rotation.

Jonathan Pettibone's career stats

2008 GCL Phillies 0 1 0.00 1 1 1.0 3 2 0 0 1 0
2009 Williamsport 2 4 5.35 9 8 35.1 37 28 21 0 16 36
2010 Lakewood 8 6 3.49 24 23 131.1 114 63 51 10 41 84
2011 Clearwater 10 11 2.96 27 27 161.0 149 62 53 5 34 115
2012 Reading 9 7 3.30 19 19 117.1 115 52 43 9 27 81
2012 Lehigh Valley 4 1 2.55 7 7 42.1 31 12 12 0 22 32
2012 2 Teams 13 8 3.10 26 26 159.2 146 64 55 9 49 113
5 Seasons 33 30 3.32 87 85 488.1 449 219 180 24 141 348
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2013.

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