Photo courtesy of PhilliesNation.com
For all the love Joe Savery has been getting for his miraculous transition from struggling pitcher to sizzling hitter, there's been another Phillies farmhand who has been racking up some very impressive numbers so far in 2011: the unheralded Jon Pettibone, the team's 2008 third-round pick.
The 20-year-old right-hander has quietly worked his way through the system, improving at each level and pitching in High-A ball for the first time, he has gotten off to a tremendous start. He's won three of his four starts and has only allowed one earned run in 24 innings.
He's been incredibly stingy with the base hits too, allowing only 14. And while Pettibone has never been a big strikeout guy or an impressive K-to-BB pitcher, he's been on the money so far, striking out 18 batters and issuing only two walks.
In his most recent start against Tampa, Pettibone was incredibly efficient, utilizing five ground balls and seven strikeouts to blank the Yankees for seven innings, allowing only four hits. He struck out a season-high seven batters, picked up his third win and lowered his ERA to 0.38.
Pettibone doesn't have the "prospect status" of Trevor May or Brody Colvin, but he's posted much better numbers pitching at the same level at roughly the same age. As a result, he could be the first one headed up to Double-A, where his polish and solid repertoire of pitches should allow him to succeed there too.
He certainly has the big-game pitching ability. He threw six no-hit innings and recorded a career-high nine Ks in the series-clinching game that sent Low-A Lakeland to the South Atlantic League Championship Series.
Pettibone checked in at No. 18 in Baseball America's Phillies' Top-30 rankings.