For the last week or so, I’ve been wanting to write something about Yusmeiro Petit, but I haven’t been able to quite bring myself to it. Really, there are a few reasons for it.
- I don’t want to come off as someone who will always fall back to writing about Bay Area guys, specifically Giants. Of course they’re the team I watch more than any other, but I watch a lot of baseball. I just love the sport, and I don’t want to come off as a total homer.
- I did write about guys like Martin Perez, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Sonny Gray, and their achievements/availability are worth noting.
- Because of some oddities in the Giants schedule and injuries, Petit has never really been a two-start guy in a given week, so he always fell out of the Dixon’s Picks range.
But ultimately, there were some numbers that I couldn’t overlook.
- Petit is almost 29 years old. That’s a young man in life but in baseball talk, that’s far from a baby. We all know that.
- Petit has solid Minor League numbers, coming in with a 3.68 ERA, 1.132 WHIP, more than a K an inning, and a K/BB rate of 4.5. But…
- Coming into 2013, Petit had 234 Major League innings spread out from 2006-2012 for three organizations. In that time, he had a 5.54 ERA and 1.44 WHIP with a strikeout rate coming in at under 7 hitters per nine innings and a rather pedestrian (I’m being nice) K/BB rate of 2.24.
So, even though he entered last Friday’s start with a fine 3.12 ERA and nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings against good offenses (Reds at home, Rockies and Diamondbacks on the road), it wasn’t hard to dismiss those as just short term or lucky. After all, his 1.33 WHIP wasn’t anything for fantasy owners to get excited about. After his start on Friday, I’m not so sure that you can ignore Petit much longer, especially if your fantasy team needs some help with pitching. First of all, I’m not just looking at the fact that he nearly threw a perfect game. As great as that start was, you never want to go crazy about one game, even late in the year. No, I’m more impressed when looking at the tale of the tape. Petit never even went to three balls on a hitter until the eighth inning. As a result, he threw only 95 pitches on the night. Anything under 12 pitches an inning is phenomenal. Under 11 is astounding. Now I know there’s one obvious comeback to that. “He allowed one base runner. Of course he didn’t throw many pitches.” There’s some truth to that, but I want to show you some perfect games, and also two that were broken up with two outs in the ninth. Perfect Games
27 up, 26 down
In case you were wondering, Galarraga threw five pitches to the final hitter (Trevor Crowe), which makes things even more phenomenal. If the correct call is made on the would-be 27th out, he throws 83 pitches. But other than that, only Philip Humber came in at fewer than 100 pitches of the pitchers who have done what Petit did (or better) over the last four years. So, Petit throwing only 95 pitches, seldom getting even three balls in a count, is not just something that can be attributed to facing fewer betters. Yes, that helps, but he’s also attacking the zone, meaning he’s not issuing free passes. It gets better. I’m looking for him to continue doing that, because… Do you remember the teams that he’s faced in his short time in the majors this year? The Reds, the Rockies, and Diamondbacks twice. All pretty decent offenses. Now, look at what the rest of the probable schedule looks like.
- Home vs. the Rockies
- Away vs. the Mets
- Away vs. the Yankees
- Home vs. the Padres
The Mets and Padres are not only bad offensive teams, but are also playing for nothing. Both teams have banged up stars who will be played sparingly down the stretch. Both of those starts also come in great pitcher’s parks, so green light all the way there. The Rockies and Yankees are interesting teams. The Rockies have a lot of talent, but have never hit well in San Francisco. Also, like the Mets with David Wright, they’re looking at a banged up star in Carlos Gonzalez that there’s no reason to play. Actually, that’s a day game after a night game, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer rode the bench, either. The Yankees are likely to still be alive at this point, but this is just not a Bronx Bombers team that we’re used to seeing. They’re banged up and even the top hitters can be pitched to. It will be an adjustment going from the NL to the AL, but even with the DH, the Yankees are not a better offense than the ones he’s fared so well against already this year. Actually, they’re not close. But there’s one other reason to like Petit, incentive. The Giants are definitely a team to try to stay away from from a fantasy point of view. They’re a veteran team who expected a lot more out of this season than they’re getting. So, I’d avoid most of them and look for another option. Petit is in a different category. He’s a 29-year-old who has spent significant time in the minor leagues. I’m guessing that’s old for him. He’s also on a team with a very uncertain starting pitching situation heading into next year. Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain are under contract. After that, the Giants have to decide on a 6.5 million dollar option on Ryan Vogelsong, and then whether or not to bring Tim Lincecum and/or Chad Gaudin back (I could throw Barry Zito in there, but I believe in good vibes). There are potential openings for Petit to grab. This would not only be the chance to crack a Major League rotation, but a Major League rotation in one of the best pitcher’s parks in the league. For Petit, the incentive is there. If you’re in a league with me, you’re out of luck as I’ve grabbed him. If not, get him, he’s pitching well enough to deserve a spot on your fantasy team.