Introducing Yusmerio Petit

Last week, I got an email from a reader named Josh Orenstein telling me about a minor leaguer I’d never heard of — Yusmerio Petit. My guess is not many of you have heard of Petit either. Well, the guy is good.

Petit is a 19-year-old Venezuelan-born RHP in the Mets system. At Single-A Capital City this year, he’s 8-1 in 13 starts, with a 2.14 ERA, 101 strikeouts, and 20 walks in 71.1 innings. He’s not just a one-year wonder, either. In 2002-2003, Petit made 25 starts, with a 2.35 ERA, 147 strikeouts, and 26 walks in 130 innings.

Petit appears to be a stats-versus-scouts kind of guy. In the Baseball Prospect Book this year, John Sickels said of Petit, “Scouts aren’t sold on him… His fastball is average, and given his small size [6’0″, 185], it doesn’t look like he will pick up a lot of additional velocity. He knows how to pitch, though, and I expect he’ll have no major problems in full-season ball.”

He hasn’t. The only weird thing is Sickels’ last comment: “If he passes the Double-A test, he could emerge as a Nelson Figueroa type.”

What the hell? What is a “Nelson Figueroa type”? Nelson Figueroa has a 4.52 ERA in 233 career MLB innings, with just 5.48 strikeouts per 9 innings. How is that remotely comparable to Petit? I mean, I could see that as a downside or something, but Sickels makes it seem like this is a good thing.

Anyway, Petit has yet to struggle in pro baseball. He’s now pitched 201.1 pro innings, and has a 2.28 ERA and a 248-46 K-BB ratio. That’s 11 strikeouts per 9 innings. Petit has also given up just 9 homers in his career. Statistically, he has yet to show a weakness. It’s early, but keep an eye on him.

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