Monday, June 21, 2004
Introducing Yusmerio PetitPosted by Matthew Namee
Last week, I got an email from a reader named Josh Orenstein telling me about a minor leaguer I'd never heard of -- Yusmerio Petit. My guess is not many of you have heard of Petit either. Well, the guy is good.
Petit is a 19-year-old Venezuelan-born RHP in the Mets system. At Single-A Capital City this year, he's 8-1 in 13 starts, with a 2.14 ERA, 101 strikeouts, and 20 walks in 71.1 innings. He's not just a one-year wonder, either. In 2002-2003, Petit made 25 starts, with a 2.35 ERA, 147 strikeouts, and 26 walks in 130 innings.
Petit appears to be a stats-versus-scouts kind of guy. In the Baseball Prospect Book this year, John Sickels said of Petit, "Scouts aren't sold on him... His fastball is average, and given his small size [6'0", 185], it doesn't look like he will pick up a lot of additional velocity. He knows how to pitch, though, and I expect he'll have no major problems in full-season ball."
He hasn't. The only weird thing is Sickels' last comment: "If he passes the Double-A test, he could emerge as a Nelson Figueroa type."
What the hell? What is a "Nelson Figueroa type"? Nelson Figueroa has a 4.52 ERA in 233 career MLB innings, with just 5.48 strikeouts per 9 innings. How is that remotely comparable to Petit? I mean, I could see that as a downside or something, but Sickels makes it seem like this is a good thing.
Anyway, Petit has yet to struggle in pro baseball. He's now pitched 201.1 pro innings, and has a 2.28 ERA and a 248-46 K-BB ratio. That's 11 strikeouts per 9 innings. Petit has also given up just 9 homers in his career. Statistically, he has yet to show a weakness. It's early, but keep an eye on him.
Matthew Namee cofounded The Hardball Times in 2004, when he was working as the assistant to baseball author and Red Sox executive Bill James. Matthew still lives in Kansas, where he is currently pursuing a law degree. He can be reached at mfnamee [at] gmail [dot] com.