Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 5/16/13
Jonathan Pettibone has been a revelation for the Phils. But how long can it continue? (AP Photo). As I wrote in my recap on Tuesday night, Jonathan Pettibone deserves a lot of credit.  He has started five games so far this year and the Phillies have won four.  He has shown a veteran’s ability to battle through jams.  He has displayed a pretty good fastball, which at least through his first three starts, he routinely threw for strikes and forced opposing batters to put the ball in play.  But before we all get carried away, it’s important to note that Pettibone is not the first marginal Phillies pitching prospect in recent years to enjoy immediate success upon his big league promotion. Consider the statistics for the following Phillies starters, past and present, compared to Pettibone through five starts: Jonathan Pettibone:  3-0, 3.41 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 5.3 K/9 in 29 IP Vance Worley:         2-2, 2.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 in 27 IP J.A. Happ:                1-1, 3.57 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 6.5 K/9 in 27.2 IP Kyle Kendrick:        3-0, 4.40 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.9 K/9 in 30.2 IP While the numbers are different, each former farmhand was able to have a certain level of success right away.  Pettibone’s rookie predecessors were also able to sustain their effectiveness beyond their first start.  Worley was a huge part of a playoff team in 2011.  Ditto for Happ in 2009 and Kendrick in 2007. But each pitcher’s success came to an abrupt end after one season’s worth of starts… or about the amount of time it took for the majority of the league to get another look at them.  For the most part, that is what happens with mid-level pitching prospects that are, at best, projected to be back-end of the rotation starters.  And the odds are, it will likely happen with Pettibone too. I point this out not to throw cold water on Pettibone’s promising start, but simply to temper the expectations on a pitcher who has displayed guts, but only mediocre stuff.  Anytime a prospect comes up and hits the ground running, it is easy for fans to excitedly pencil him into the lineup or rotation for the foreseeable future.  Hell, it is easy for players to do it too.  Here is Kevin Frandsen on Pettibone after Tuesday’s performance, courtesy of Mandy Housenick of the Allentown Morning Call: “He never gave in.  He could have let it go when we were down 2-1 and he kept fighting and fighting and made great pitches. … That’s a stud right there. He didn’t back down. That’s awesome.” Pettibone has certainly been resilient and shown a comfort level pitching in sticky situations.  And it is great that his teammates are excited for him.  But what Frandsen sees as moxie, I see as a caution sign.  Although he has battled out of them, Pettibone’s been in those jams for a reason.  His WHIP of 1.28, while not bad, indicates that his ERA is due for a correction.  And after issuing four free passes in each of his last two starts, his walk rate is headed in the wrong direction. While Phillies Nation graded Pettibone as the organization’s sixth best prospect headed into this season, that ranking needs to be taken with a grain of salt in the grand scheme of things.  The Phillies farm system has been decimated by trades, and – Domonic Brown’s development excluded – hasn’t produced a single impact player in more than five years… an assessment that stands even if you count the top prospects they’ve traded. Given the history with Phillies pitchers of his ilk, it is possible, and maybe even likely, that Pettibone’s effectiveness continues well into the summer.  Credit him for working hard to get this far… and credit Rich Dubee for getting these guys acclimated to the big leagues so quickly.  Just don’t bank on it lasting. While Kendrick has miraculously transformed himself from a Pettibone-type into a trustworthy middle of the rotation starter, it took him several years and countless ugly starts to do it.  He is the exception.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ravens OL's tiny Nissan out of place in team parking lot

Brazen Buckeye blocks Urban Meyer's car

Jaguars GM: Justin Blackmon's NFL career likely over

WATCH: Rays rookie hits first HR, gets ignored by teammates

Email shows Ravens tipped off Colts about deflated footballs


Report: Mexico in talks with Marcelo Bielsa for coaching job

Brady: Never thought about air pressure until refs inflated to 16 PSI

Report suggests C.J. Wilson’s teammates not happy he’s seeking season ending surgery

Clowney’s father arrested for attempted murder outside club

Report: L.A.-area venues wary of temporarily hosting NFL teams

Jimmy Graham to block for Marshawn 75 percent of time

Fabricio Werdum open to rematch with Fedor

Poker pro Daniel Negreanu wants to partially own Vegas NHL team

Penn State modernizes with new shield logo

UT preview: Why the Volunteers can win the national title

WATCH: Jordan embarrassed by camper over his shoes

Rice: 'I can understand why some people will never forgive me'

Rod Marinelli: “Fortunate” to go through 0-16 season with Lions

WATCH: Jimmy Rollins gets big ovation in return to Philly

2015 Premier League preview: Avoiding relegation

NHL and MLB Advanced Media announce $1.2 billion deal

Knicks analyst Walt Frazier isn’t very enthused about team’s chances next season

Dave Dombrowski is out as Tigers GM

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2015 Premier League preview: Avoiding relegation

Kris Bryant on changing to feet-first slide: ‘I only have one head’

MLB season in NY better than expected

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker