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  • 2022 Prospect Previews: Chase Petty


    Jamie Cameron

    In a new series at Twins Daily, JD Cameron looks at some of the Twins early draft-picks from 2021, what attracted the Twins to them, and storylines to watch for in 2022. First up, number 26 overall pick, Chase Petty.

    Image courtesy of Thieres Rabelo

    Twins Video

    While the MLB lockout continues to stagnate the offseason, minor-league players are preparing to travel to Florida and Arizona to begin preparation for their seasons. In this series, I’ll look at some of the Twins' notable picks from the early rounds of the 2021 draft. I’ll dig into scouting reports and storylines to look for ahead of the 2022 season. In the first piece of the season, we'll look at the Twins first pick in the 2021 draft, RHP Chase Petty.

    Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55 (scouting grades courtesy of Baseball America).

    Signing and Scouting
    The Twins selected Chase Petty with their first-round pick in the 2021 draft (26th overall). Petty, out of Mainland Regional HS in New Jersey, signed for a slightly below slot $2.5 million bonus. Petty was ranked the 29th best available prospect by Baseball America and 27th by MLB.com. Despite the consensus around his overall prospect status, he qualifies as an extremely high variance pick due to being a prep pitcher who throws at extreme velocity. 

    The Falvey regime has never drafted a high school pitching prospect in the first round. The Twins, as an organization, haven’t done so since Kohl Stewart in 2013, generally preferring high floor, college power bats. It’s easy to see what drew them to Petty, whose arm talent is elite.

    Petty was the most famous prep pitcher in his class, thanks to a fastball he can run up to 102 mph and was compared by some evaluators as the best they had seen from a prep-pitcher since Hunter Greene and one of the best in the history of the draft.

    Petty’s fastball and slider both have 70-grade potential. Petty’s fastball benefits from a ton of arm-side movement. Petty used his changeup infrequently in high school (he didn’t need to) but the Twins believe this can be developed as a plus pitch also. 

    Petty’s upside is incredible, with two caveats. High school prep pitchers are an inherently risky group of players to draft. Some get injured, some don’t live up to their lofty potential. Petty needs to keep his arm slot in the three-quarter range to maintain consistent control of his fastball.

    What Makes Him Special?
    So what does all this arm-talent look like close up? Here’s a clip from the summer of 2020, where Petty was already blowing away his competition.

    Another clip from March of 2021 shows not only the incredible velocity by the arm-side movement generated by his fastball.

    This tweet from Ben Brewster (a must-follow if you're interested in player mechanics) is a great breakdown of how Petty generates so much velocity and includes a link to a more in-depth YouTube breakdown of why he is a such a special talent.

    Offseason Additions
    By all accounts, in addition to having incredible on-field upside, Petty is an incredibly hard worker, charismatic, and has an effervescent personality, as evidenced by his interview shortly after he was drafted by the Twins.

    Petty has clearly been working hard on his changeup since being drafted by the Twins, as shown by this recently posted video from his training facility in NJ. While Petty will need significant time to develop, the addition of a plus changeup would give him three plus pitches (two at 70-grade) and the type of arsenal capable of being a front-line MLB caliber starting pitcher.

    Likely to Start At: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (A)
    While Petty will need time to develop and carries inherent prospect risk, the talent and stuff are as good as the Twins have ever had in their system. Petty is a starting pitcher to dream on.

    The next article in the Prospect Preview series will look more closely at Noah Miller, the Twins competitive balance pick at the end of the first round (36 overall). If there's any additional information you would like to see in these 2022 prospect previews, please let me know in the comments.

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    It's going to be very fun to see what he can do at 19 in A-ball. He doesn't look like a guy who needs to grow/fill-in for his body all that much, which should help him. But he's going to need to learn more about how to pitch, how to set up hitters, etc because you simply can't destroy everyone in pro ball with 100 mph gas like you can in HS. 

    If he can master that changeup then he's going to be destructive. The fastball should play on anyone, and if he's got an off-speed pitch to play up against lefties then he's going to be in really good shape because that fastball-slide combo should be deadly against righties.

    High school pitchers are risky, but this is the kind of upside play I like to see when picking late in the round. 

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    23 minutes ago, roger said:

    Thanks, Jamie.

    As long as we are dreaming, can the Twins once get lucky and have this young man move up quickly and join the Twins by late 2023?  Other studs have made it by the time they were 20, why not once for the Twins.

    My guess would be closer to 2025, but you never know! Thanks for reading!

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    3 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    It's going to be very fun to see what he can do at 19 in A-ball. He doesn't look like a guy who needs to grow/fill-in for his body all that much, which should help him. But he's going to need to learn more about how to pitch, how to set up hitters, etc because you simply can't destroy everyone in pro ball with 100 mph gas like you can in HS. 

    If he can master that changeup then he's going to be destructive. The fastball should play on anyone, and if he's got an off-speed pitch to play up against lefties then he's going to be in really good shape because that fastball-slide combo should be deadly against righties.

    High school pitchers are risky, but this is the kind of upside play I like to see when picking late in the round. 

    Agree with everything you said. It's really unusual for a prep RHP to move fast AND last at the major league level, but the stuff is definitely there!

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    41 minutes ago, roger said:

    Thanks, Jamie.

    As long as we are dreaming, can the Twins once get lucky and have this young man move up quickly and join the Twins by late 2023?  Other studs have made it by the time they were 20, why not once for the Twins.

    we'll know a lot more about how fast he can progress after this season. If he can dominate in a full-season of pro ball, then he could move quickly, especially because it doesn't look like he has major mechanical issues they really need to iron out. But 2023 is pretty unrealistic.

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    The dreaded Tommy John is always lurking for big armed pitchers.  Let's hope he can somehow avoid it.  The comp of Hunter Green is good, but Green missed 2019 for TJ surgery and is now 22.  Will he make it this year?  He and Royce Lewis were 1-2 in the draft that year.  Who makes it first?  Both have missed a year for injury and a year for covid.  For that high a draft pick it is time to move up.  If we look at it without the TJ he would have already been locked in for the Reds at 21.  If Petty stays healthy that is the earliest I would think we could look for him - if he lives up to his scouting potential. 

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    7 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    The dreaded Tommy John is always lurking for big armed pitchers.  Let's hope he can somehow avoid it.  The comp of Hunter Green is good, but Green missed 2019 for TJ surgery and is now 22.  Will he make it this year?  He and Royce Lewis were 1-2 in the draft that year.  Who makes it first?  Both have missed a year for injury and a year for covid.  For that high a draft pick it is time to move up.  If we look at it without the TJ he would have already been locked in for the Reds at 21.  If Petty stays healthy that is the earliest I would think we could look for him - if he lives up to his scouting potential. 

    Agree, Mike, that avoiding injuries will be key. Despite that for Greene and the slow movement associated with a prep RHP, he's now the #35 prospect in baseball. He'll see the majors this year.

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    Wow!  The kid is impressive.  Like everyone else, I hope he stays away from injuries and harnesses his tremendous potential  There are cases where young pitchers debut in their teens, but it is so rare.  In the olden days, Joe Nuxhall debuted at 15 for the Reds in 1944 during WW2, and pitched into the mid 60's.  Doc Gooden debuted for the Mets at 19 and struck out 276 batters and pitched over 200 innings in 1984.  Boy, things have changed.  There isn't a front office anywhere that would let that happen these days.

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    Other than control, specifically on slider, and developing his change up, he does not seem to have much to work on.  That slider moves like crazy.  I hope that if he can have good control, he should only be in minors for a couple of years to build up arm strength for building up innings.  

    However, really it is keeping those legs strong to keep that velo up.  When you can have that velo if you can spot and get that kind of movement on slider he can be really nasty.  I see no real point to have someone "develop" in minors if have the stuff to get MLB hitters out.  

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    38 minutes ago, Trov said:

    Other than control, specifically on slider, and developing his change up, he does not seem to have much to work on.  That slider moves like crazy.  I hope that if he can have good control, he should only be in minors for a couple of years to build up arm strength for building up innings.  

    However, really it is keeping those legs strong to keep that velo up.  When you can have that velo if you can spot and get that kind of movement on slider he can be really nasty.  I see no real point to have someone "develop" in minors if have the stuff to get MLB hitters out.  

    Lot's of good points. Two things I'll say in response:

    1) Some of the reading I did was around mechanical control and a tendency to 'yank' his fastball, so that will be something to monitor. It'll play against anyone with that velo, but you're also right, he'll have to be able to spot in quickly.

    2) I'm really interested to see how he moves/how the Twins move him. Prep RHP as a 'player type' tend to move through minor league levels incredibly slowly, the Twins have also shown more aggression in their placements/moving prospects in recent seasons, so not sure how that'll get reconciled. 

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    37 minutes ago, Jamie Cameron said:

    2) I'm really interested to see how he moves/how the Twins move him. Prep RHP as a 'player type' tend to move through minor league levels incredibly slowly, the Twins have also shown more aggression in their placements/moving prospects in recent seasons, so not sure how that'll get reconciled. 

    If I had to bet, I'd say he spend the whole year at Ft. Myers, in part because of his age and the sophisticated complex the Twins have built up there, giving them maximum resources in place to support his development. Unless he's just crushing it so thoroughly that it demands a promotion to Cedar Rapids. But I would bet on Ft. Myers this year and if he's performing well, more aggressive promotion to follow after that (If he's doing well starting the year in Cedar Rapids, an early promotion to AA, etc).

    And I'm fine with that. The kid is 19 with a thunderbolt for a right arm. Get him off to the best, smartest start you can at Ft. Myers and it will serve him well to advance quickly through the system. I'd say if things go well he'll be in MLB late 2024/early2025.

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    I was pretty excited about this pick when the Twins made it.  I know high school pitcher picks come with ton's of risk but it sure beats picking another slow footed bat first player.  There was a nice scouting report write up that I am guessing others have read taking a pretty objective view of Petty.  If the arm holds up I think the Twins have the upside of a front to mid rotation starter and floor of elite reliever which isn't bad for where they picked either. I am hoping the Twins get lucky with a high school pitcher pick for once.

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    We'll know how his pitches play quickly this year. The true aces out there generally move up through the minors very quickly. If Petty's fastball and slider are as good as advertised and he can throw the changeup, he should arrive 2024 at the latest.

    It'll be very exciting to see how his performance looks against a far higher level of competition in Ft. Myers than he was seeing in high school.

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    I'm still really confused about Petty's draft slot, though I am super pleased we got him. He seems to compare favorably to Greene coming out of HS ball, but was selected over 20 picks later. IIRC, Greene might have had a little bigger frame when selected. Is that the only reason? Really pleased but puzzled Petty lasted as long as he did, despite the inherent risk that comes with a HS arm.

    I completely agree with jmlease1 that in addition to perfecting his change, what he has to work on most is learning how to "pitch". And I think that's something a lot of people forget when looking at velocity and sweeping breaking balls and high K rates. Pitching is still an art form to be learned, how to approach and set up hitters, etc. It's not pure stuff.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he spends all of 2022 at Ft Myers. I also wouldn't be surprised if he spent a month at Cedar Rapids to end the season, especially if the change starts to round in to form.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if he spends some time in 2023 between A+ and AA working on a 4th offering, a cutter or splitter perhaps, to play off that FB and slider. Even if it was an occasional "show me" pitch, any sort of 4th offering, even mediocre, could really confuse batters.

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    Yep. Greene was a potential shortstop. In addition, Greene had better control and is quite a bit taller than Petty with less a less violent delivery. I think the reports out say Petty honestly has a better slider, but Greene had 3 legit pitches where Petty's changeup was kind of a question mark.

    The top of the 2017 draft has largely been a bust to this point.

    • Royce Lewis (AA), poor performance
    • Hunter Greene (AAA), mediocre performance
    • MacKinzie Gore (AAA), poor performance
    • Brendan McKay (MLB), 1 year -0.2 bWAR
    • Kyle Wright (MLB), 4 years, -0.5 bWAR career, best season 0.3 bWAR (2020)
    • Austin Beck (AAA), poor performance
    • Pavin Smith (MLB), 2 years, 0.0 bWAR career, best season 0.2 bWAR (2020)
    • Adam Hasely (MLB), 3 years, 1.5 bWAR career, best season 1.8 bWAR (2019)
    • Keston Hiura (MLB), 3 years, 0.6 bWAR career, best season 1.9 bWAR (2019)
    • Jo Adell (MLB), 2 years, -1.2 bWAR career, best season 0.3 bWAR (2021)

    None of the top 10 picks has much accomplishment to their name. None of them have produced more than a single positive bWAR season and all of them have a negative bWAR season if they've made it to MLB.

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    7 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    Yep. Greene was a potential shortstop. In addition, Greene had better control and is quite a bit taller than Petty with less a less violent delivery. I think the reports out say Petty honestly has a better slider, but Greene had 3 legit pitches where Petty's changeup was kind of a question mark.

    I suspect the height had something to do with it, and there were some questions about what secondary offerings Petty had, since he basically only threw fastballs in high school. I wouldn't be surprised if California vs. New Jersey had something to do with it: long seasons in CA with scouts everywhere and the hype gets going fast. Jersey? Less so. (Not like playing in Kenosha or something like that, but still)

    I'm always nervous about picking high school pitchers, but in this spot, it's a smart risk to take. The upside is worth it. It's much scarier in the top five (I'm having Kohl Stewart flashbacks).

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    Petty oozes charisma and charm, which is nice to see. As others have pointed out TJ surgery is always lurking for high octane high school arms. One thing I would  add to all of these columns is the height and weight of each prospect. 

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    16 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

    If I had to bet, I'd say he spend the whole year at Ft. Myers, in part because of his age and the sophisticated complex the Twins have built up there, giving them maximum resources in place to support his development. Unless he's just crushing it so thoroughly that it demands a promotion to Cedar Rapids. But I would bet on Ft. Myers this year and if he's performing well, more aggressive promotion to follow after that (If he's doing well starting the year in Cedar Rapids, an early promotion to AA, etc).

    And I'm fine with that. The kid is 19 with a thunderbolt for a right arm. Get him off to the best, smartest start you can at Ft. Myers and it will serve him well to advance quickly through the system. I'd say if things go well he'll be in MLB late 2024/early2025.

    Sounds like a great approach to me!

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    12 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I'm still really confused about Petty's draft slot, though I am super pleased we got him. He seems to compare favorably to Greene coming out of HS ball, but was selected over 20 picks later. IIRC, Greene might have had a little bigger frame when selected. Is that the only reason? Really pleased but puzzled Petty lasted as long as he did, despite the inherent risk that comes with a HS arm.

    I completely agree with jmlease1 that in addition to perfecting his change, what he has to work on most is learning how to "pitch". And I think that's something a lot of people forget when looking at velocity and sweeping breaking balls and high K rates. Pitching is still an art form to be learned, how to approach and set up hitters, etc. It's not pure stuff.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he spends all of 2022 at Ft Myers. I also wouldn't be surprised if he spent a month at Cedar Rapids to end the season, especially if the change starts to round in to form.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if he spends some time in 2023 between A+ and AA working on a 4th offering, a cutter or splitter perhaps, to play off that FB and slider. Even if it was an occasional "show me" pitch, any sort of 4th offering, even mediocre, could really confuse batters.

    The reason Greene was so high is he came out as a two-way prospect. In addition to his 100+ fastball he was a SS with a loud power tool, so I think that's the difference. Also, perhaps a bit more of a sustainable delivery coming into his draft.

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    15 minutes ago, Otaknam said:

    Petty oozes charisma and charm, which is nice to see. As others have pointed out TJ surgery is always lurking for high octane high school arms. One thing I would  add to all of these columns is the height and weight of each prospect. 

    He's incredibly charismatic, I agree. Thanks for that feedback. I will add it in moving forwards. In Petty's case: 6'1, 190lbs at the time of drafting I believe. I would guess thise could have changed slightly as he's so young still.

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    15 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I'm still really confused about Petty's draft slot, though I am super pleased we got him. He seems to compare favorably to Greene coming out of HS ball, but was selected over 20 picks later. IIRC, Greene might have had a little bigger frame when selected. Is that the only reason? Really pleased but puzzled Petty lasted as long as he did, despite the inherent risk that comes with a HS arm.

    I completely agree with jmlease1 that in addition to perfecting his change, what he has to work on most is learning how to "pitch". And I think that's something a lot of people forget when looking at velocity and sweeping breaking balls and high K rates. Pitching is still an art form to be learned, how to approach and set up hitters, etc. It's not pure stuff.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he spends all of 2022 at Ft Myers. I also wouldn't be surprised if he spent a month at Cedar Rapids to end the season, especially if the change starts to round in to form.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if he spends some time in 2023 between A+ and AA working on a 4th offering, a cutter or splitter perhaps, to play off that FB and slider. Even if it was an occasional "show me" pitch, any sort of 4th offering, even mediocre, could really confuse batters.

    To go along with the fact Greene could have been SS as mentioned, he also pitched in LA for high school.  Scouts will always look at areas kids play as well.  Petty pitched out east where the best player in the world once played but dropped late in the first round as well, because scouts worry about the big fish little pond thing.  

    This would be even more of an issue with a guy like petty who throws so hard.  Very few people can hit that speed, so put him in an area where talent is considered lower, there is concern he is just looking good against less talent. 

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    6 hours ago, Jamie Cameron said:

    He's incredibly charismatic, I agree. Thanks for that feedback. I will add it in moving forwards. In Petty's case: 6'1, 190lbs at the time of drafting I believe. I would guess thise could have changed slightly as he's so young still.

    This is something Twins Daily could do on all their prospect reports. Never wanted to say anything because it's just more work.

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    20 hours ago, DocBauer said:

    I'm still really confused about Petty's draft slot, though I am super pleased we got him. He seems to compare favorably to Greene coming out of HS ball, but was selected over 20 picks later. IIRC, Greene might have had a little bigger frame when selected. Is that the only reason? Really pleased but puzzled Petty lasted as long as he did, despite the inherent risk that comes with a HS arm.

    I completely agree with jmlease1 that in addition to perfecting his change, what he has to work on most is learning how to "pitch". And I think that's something a lot of people forget when looking at velocity and sweeping breaking balls and high K rates. Pitching is still an art form to be learned, how to approach and set up hitters, etc. It's not pure stuff.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he spends all of 2022 at Ft Myers. I also wouldn't be surprised if he spent a month at Cedar Rapids to end the season, especially if the change starts to round in to form.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if he spends some time in 2023 between A+ and AA working on a 4th offering, a cutter or splitter perhaps, to play off that FB and slider. Even if it was an occasional "show me" pitch, any sort of 4th offering, even mediocre, could really confuse batters.

    The elite pitchers are the ones who not only have the raw stuff, but who also know the art of pitching. There are some without the raw stuff, who can be good/great due to knowing how to pitch. Then there can be some with tons of raw stuff who never become more than throwers. I would say, with talent like this, lets give him all the time he needs to really learn the art. Also, take it easy on his arm. I would hate to have him arrive early, be great, then burn out. Hopefully he can stay humble and avoid shenanigans of the field. 

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