It wasn't too long ago when Jonathan Pettibone's name appeared among the annoyingly titled group they dubbed "baby aces" alongside Jarred Cosart, Trevor May, Julio Rodriguez, and Brody Colvin. Three of them habe been dealt away and one has really struggled the past few seasons. Pettibone is the last man standing and the first to see big league action as he takes the mound tonight.
What they'll probably tell you about the 22 year old hurler on TV tonight is that he is a workhorse and a command pitcher. The stuff is average but he has a lot of pitches and seems like someone who could hang in the middle to back end of a starting rotation. His fastball sits around 90-92 but he also has a change up, a slider, and a cutter in his arsenal now.
His ceiling appears to be anybody's guess. I've heard him compared to John Lackey. The few times I've seen him in the minors have been a mixed bag. I saw him have a really great start, a really bad one, and a decent one. What stood out in the bad one was I recall he was able to shake off a bad inning where he got shelled and kept getting outs.
It's always exciting to see a major league debut. Pettibone figures to be one that is a bit more high profile to those who follow the farm system. Baseball America and Fangraphs have him as the number 4 prospect in the system. Baseball Prospectus has him at number 8. My feelings are it may be a tad early for him. He's had a brutal start in Lehigh Valley this season. However, the need has come and we get to see what he's got against Pittsburgh tonight.