Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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What to expect from Jonathan Pettibone

The safer pick was Tyler Cloyd. He made six starts at the end of 2012 for the Phillies, and while not overwhelming, he was effective in spurts. But they chose Jonathan Pettibone to start Monday against Pittsburgh.

What to expect from Jonathan Pettibone

Phillies pitching prospect Jonathan Pettibone. (Michael Bryant/Staff file photo)
Phillies pitching prospect Jonathan Pettibone. (Michael Bryant/Staff file photo)

The safer pick was Tyler Cloyd. The 25-year-old righthander made six starts at the end of 2012 for the Phillies, and while not overwhelming, he was effective in spurts. Cloyd is scheduled to pitch Monday at triple A. He made the most sense.

The Phillies, though, know what they possess in Cloyd. So they chose Jonathan Pettibone to start Monday against Pittsburgh.

"It lined up well for him," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. 

Pettibone, 22, will be the first player born in the 1990s to play for the Phillies. He is the youngest to start a game for them since Fabio Castro in 2007. That is why Amaro's choice of words were most interesting.

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"He's got good stuff," Amaro said, "and hopefully he has enough weapons and guile to pitch well for us."

"Guile" is not often a characteristic bestowed upon a 22-year-old pitcher drafted from high school. The Phillies brought three pitching prospects -- Pettibone, Adam Morgan and Ethan Martin -- to spring training. Reserve catcher Steven Lerud caught all three in 2012 and labeled Pettibone "the most polished."

His father, Jay, pitched in pro ball for six seasons, and that is the possible source for those instincts. Jay Pettibone appeared in four major-league games, all with Minnesota in 1983. Charlie Manuel actually managed him in 1984 at double-A Orlando.

Jonathan Pettibone's fastball tops at 94 m.p.h. It usually hovers in the 91-92 m.p.h. range, said a scout who has watched Pettibone on multiple occasions. His secondary pitches are a change-up and slider. He'll also throw a curveball, but not with regular frequency.

Neither Pettibone nor Cloyd dazzled at Lehigh Valley to open 2013. Pettibone's most recent start, last Tuesday at Pawtucket, lasted four innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

He is a pitcher who relies on command. 

"We'll see how he competes," Amaro said.


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