Perennially, New Jersey is not a high school powerhouse state for the MLB Draft. Rick Porcello was drafted in 2007, and no right-handed high school pitchers from New Jersey have gone in the first round since then. In that span, only two left-handed pitchers from NJ have gone in the first round, as well. That could change in 2021 because Chase Petty from Mainland, NJ is grabbing scout’s attention with his high velocity sand pure stuff.
Petty is a little undersized standing 6’2 and 190 pounds. Regardless, the talent is there with the 18-year-old pitcher, and he is ranked the 27th-best prospect, according to MLB.com. Currently, his college commitment is to the University of Florida.
Petty has great stuff. His three-pitch mix features a fastball that has already touched triple digits, an upper-80s slider, and a firm changeup. The pitches are graded a 70/80, 55/80, and 50/80, respectively. At worst, the fastball-slider combination set Petty up well to be a good reliever in the long run, but if he can execute his changeup – which can be too firm at times – with more consistency, he has the repertoire of a MLB starting pitcher.
All across the showcase circuit last summer, Petty displayed his powerful right arm. His fastball sat consistently in the high-90 mph before he finally hit 100 mph at the Area Code Games. The pitch also has sink and runs in on right-handed batters. His slider plays well off of the fastball, with a good break that moves away from right-handed hitters.
For all that he brings to the table with his physical abilities to pitch, his mental approach is also revered by scouts. He is a fearless competitor, and he is never afraid to pitch a batter inside,
Chase Petty is an average pitcher in terms of his height although his weight can be classified as undersized. This is a concern because his size can also impact how well he repeats his delivery.
However, he is only 18 years old and coming out of high school. He will have plenty of time to build up more muscle by the time he reaches MLB. If he can add 15-20 pounds of muscle, he will be in a much better spot physically, which will allow him the strength and endurance to consistently repeat his mechanics and keep his stuff nasty deeper into starts.
As for his delivery, there is clear effort to it. At times, it can appear to be violent, and he becomes susceptible to flying open with his shoulder, resulting in control issues. Petty will have to work on this, but it is something that will go along with him building up his strength in the minor leagues.
In terms of size, a good current day comp for Chase Petty is Nathan Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox. Both pitchers are the same height, but Eovaldi is 27 pounds heavier than Petty. Assuming that Petty adds muscle during his his time developing in MiLB, his final weight may be closer to what Eovaldi is right now.
Additionally, both men throw hard from a low-three-quarter arm slot. Petty’s arm slot is slightly lower than Eovaldi’s but both can classify as a lower arm slot. From that angle, both men have a knack for throwing high-velocity pitches. Petty has already touched 100 mph while Eovaldi has averaged at least 97 mph on his fastball every year since 2015. Eovaldi doesn’t have as good of a slider as Petty and only throws his 12% of the time in 2021. Still, the similarities between the two in terms of height and projected size, velocity, and arm slot are worth remembering.
Current New York Yankee Corey Kluber has made a living throwing a good slider – which he dubs just his breaking ball because of it’s slurve nature – from a similar arm slot to Petty. Like Eovaldi, Kluber’s arm slot is not quite as low as Petty’s but it is still a good example of how effective a good slider can be from that angle. Whoever drafts Petty will be drafting a pitcher with a ton of potential waiting to be unlocked.
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