Wednesday, August 25, 2004


With all prospect mavens and Mets' fans united in their ire against GM Jim Duquette for trading the electric young lefty Scott Kazmir, is it possible that the Mets actually saved themselves from greater future embarassment by not trading another pitcher instead?

I can't say I knew much about Yusmeiro Petit at the start of the year, but he's currently decimating Florida State League hitters:

Petit (A+) 44.1 IP, 1.22 ERA, 1.83 RA, 5.5 H/9, 2.8 BB/9, 12.6 K/9, 0.0 HR/9

This after an equally impressive run in the South Atlantic League to start the year:

Petit (A) 83.0 IP, 2.39 ERA, 3.14 RA, 5.1 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, 13.2 K/9, 0.9 HR/9

Now, compare this to what the vaunted Kazmir did last year in the same two levels at the same age:

Kazmir (A+) 33 IP, 3.27 ERA, 4.01 RA, 7.9 H/9, 4.4 BB/9, 10.9 K/9, 0.0 HR/9
Kazmir (A) 76.3 IP, 2.36 ERA, 3.07 RA, 5.9 H/9, 3.3 BB/9, 12.4 K/9, 0.7 HR/9

There's no other way to say this: if performance is what counts, Petit kicks Kazmir's ass.

I've since learned that Petit is a 6'0", 230 lbs RHP who won't turn 20 until November. The Mets signed him out of Venezuela back in 2001, and he hasn't disappointed. His performance as an 18 year old last year only bolsters his resume:

Petit (A) 62.0 IP, 2.32 ERA, 2.76 RA, 6.8 H/9, 1.1 BB/9, 9.4 K/9, 0.3 HR/9
Petit (R) 12.1 IP, 2.19 ERA, 2.19 RA, 3.6 H/9, 1.5 BB/9, 14.9 K/9, 0.0 HR/9

In this professional career, Petit has never had an ERA over 2.50, a WHIP over 1.00, a K/9 under 9.0, or a HR/9 over 1.0. He's also been extremely good at limiting unearned runs, something that would no doubt please Michael Wolverton to no end.

Will this translate into the majors? According to the info I could find, Petit throws around 90-92 mph, and has a changeup that's been described as "good" by John Sickels. So yes, he lacks Kazmir's pure stuff. But he's miles ahead of Kazmir as a pitcher. And anyone who is striking out over 12 batters per 9 clearly has something going on. (Methinks his changeup is probably somewhere closer to "Foulkian" than mere "good".)

Obviously, the Mets would be in a better position with both Kazmir and Petit in the rotation in '05 or '06. But as bad as trading Kazmir was, they made the right mistake.

With Francis on his way to Colorado later today, only Felix Hernandez and Matt Cain could reasonably claim to be better pitching prospects than Petit.

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