Jake Petricka Scouting Report (2010)
Late in the 2010 season, I had the opportunity to see Chicago White Sox prospect Jake Petricka, a hard throwing right-hander who was taken with the 63rd overall pick in 2010 draft. In recording Petricka’s bullpen, it marked the first time I felt uneasy standing near the backstop as neither he, nor I had any idea where the ball going.
Physical Projection: At a listed height/weight of 6’5″, 170 lbs., Petricka looked heavier in person, but not by much. He’s lean throughout, and his body type is that of player who has, and will continue to struggle adding size.
With his lean and well-proportioned frame, I expected a better athlete than I saw in person as his motion is a bit rigid and mechanical, and included his landing on a stiff front leg. The most fluid part of Petricka’s delivery is his follow through, but it’s inconsistent to the point where his back foot is sometimes still on the ground after release which looked awkward.
Mound Presence: In both the bullpen and game action, Petricka presented as one of the more wild pitchers I’ve seen this season. In the bullpen especially, he looked to be fighting his mechanics on almost every pitch. This led to my thinking he would be pulled from the first appearance he made in Savannah as Petricka surrendered a run and struggled to locate. And while this is acceptable from a teenager in the league, at 22, Petricka appeared significantly behind the development learning curve. Of course his big fastball is an equalizer few other prospects have.
Fastball: During his first appearance, Petricka worked in the 94-96 MPH range with his fastball. The velocity is there for it to be a plus pitch, but command and movement are lacking. However, he has the ability to create downward plane at times which will help keep the ball in the park. And while he will sometimes elevate the pitch, the great majority of his fastballs which missed the strike zone were down and away to right handed hitters.
In his second outing, Petricka worked 92-94 MPH, touching 96 a couple of times. The drop in velocity three nights later didn’t hurt him in game action, but it was easy to tell the difference behind home plate as the glove was not popping nearly as much as during his previous appearance.
Curveball: In the bullpen, Petricka’s curveball had good depth and sharp break, but his release point was wildly inconsistent leading to everything from spinners which found the netting 10-feet above the catchers head to a sharp “downer” which would make a hitters knees buckle. Of course this was all in the bullpen as he threw very few, if any in game action. I would have liked to see him work counts where the pitch was a viable option, but Petricka was consistently behind in the count and seemed content to rear back and try to throw “bee-bees” past Sand Gnats hitters
Changeup: Another pitch Petricka shelved in game action, this one looks to have some promise from an arm action standpoint as I could not pick up any real difference between his fastball and changeup. From the number of times he threw it in the bullpen, and lack of use during both appearances, it led me to the conclusion the pitch was a bit of an afterthought at that point in the season.
For me personally, Petricka gains value if the White Sox can drop his arm slot just a touch to smooth out his arm action and keep the ball down. On top of that, the change in slot may also lead to his releasing the curveball out front more consistently leading to better results.
In Jake Petricka, the White Sox have found an impressive arm considering I can count on one hand the number of pitchers who touched 96 MPH in the South Atlantic League this season. And while that’s a great foundation to start from, Petricka is a bullpen arm to me until he proves otherwise. At present, his stuff plays as more of a 7th inning arm instead of a pitcher who will excel in high leverage situations.
23 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
Tags: White Sox
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