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Petit made a very successful North American debut in 2003, splitting the season between Kingsport and Brooklyn. As you point out, his numbers were excellent. At Kingsport, he went 3-3 but with a 2.32 ERA and a stunning 65/8 K/BB ratio in 62 innings, allowing just 47 hits. At Brooklyn, he made two starts and was similarly effective, posting a 2.19 ERA and a 20/2 K/BB in 12 innings. That combines for an 85/10 K/BB in 74 innings, obviously outstanding. All of his ratios come out strongly positive, and given his age at the time (18), it certainly looks like he's a top prospect.
Scouts aren't convinced just yet though. Petit definitely throws strikes and knows how to pitch, but his fastball is average, and his breaking ball and changeup, while effective, are not in the "WOW" category. He succeeded last year because he works the strike zone much better than most pitchers his age, and short-season hitters have a hard time with that. He is clearly worth watching, but we need to see how his stuff holds up at higher levels.
(from all-baseball.com)Soothsayers have compared Petit to Sid Fernandez, a former Major League pitcher that had fantastic numbers in the minor leagues. The reason this comparison works is Petit, like Fernandez, had unreal numbers in fifteen low-A starts. In 83 innings, Petit allowed only 47 hits and 22 walks, against an insane 122 strikeouts. For those of you scoring at home, that’s a WHIP below 1.00, a K/BB above 5.00, and a K/9 nearing 13.50. Petit finds himself below a lot of Met prospects, but if these numbers continue, he’ll head the list in the winter.
ESPN wrote:Sam from New York asks:
Yusmeiro Petit is seemingly blowing everyone away in the minors, continuing his success from High Class A and proceeding to dominate Double-A hitters. Is he the real deal? And if so, when can my brilliant Mets management trade him away for a ball of yarn?
We looked at Petit, a right-handed pitcher, earlier this year, but with the end of the season approaching, this is a good time for a review.
Petit is a 19-year-old Venezuelan, signed by the Mets in 2001. He emerged as a prospect last summer by posting an 85/10 K/BB ratio in 74 innings, split between the short-season Appalachian and New York-Penn Leagues. I compared him to Nelson Figueroa in my book this year, which looks like an underestimate of his potential right now.
Petit began this year with the Capital City Bombers in the Sally League, going 9-2 in 15 starts with a 2.39 ERA and 122/22 K/BB in 83 innings. Promoted to St. Lucie in the Florida State League, he posted a 1.22 ERA and 62/14 K/BB in 44 innings, with just 27 hits allowed. He just moved up to Double-A, and the early returns there are still strong: seven innings in his first start, no runs allowed, four hits, no walks, 10 strikeouts.
Generously listed at 6-0, Petit is a short guy and as such draws skepticism from many scouts. His fastball is decent in the 88-92 range, not a gunburner but just fine if his other pitches are solid. His changeup and curveball have improved this year, and he's shown a remarkable ability to hit spots with all three of his offerings. His control is superb, he keeps the ball down, and shows a good feel for his craft. His statistical ratios are all excellent, particularly his K/BB and K/IP marks.
Double-A separates the wheat from the chaff, and if Petit's first start there is any indicator, the Mets certainly have another "real deal" prospect. He's headed for a Grade B+ grade in the 2005 book, maybe A- depending on how things play out. He should see the Show sometime next year at this rate.
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