Originally posted 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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

Hernandez's prison calls to Pouncey could come up in trial

Josh Hamilton experiences pain in reconstructed knee, leaves camp

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker