The 6’6″ Pettibone entered the 2013 season as a 22-year old who had success in Double-A Reading in 2012 (3.30 ERA in 19 starts) and even more success in a late-season call-up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley (2.55 ERA in seven starts) but considered by most to be behind Tyler Cloyd, Ethan Martin and Adam Morgan as a minor league injury call-up. Yet, by April 22, Pettibone was the starting pitcher against the NL Wild Card-winning Pittsburgh Pirates despite posting a 7.71 ERA in three starts with the IronPigs.
Pettibone rewarded the Phillies for their confidence, giving the Phillies 18 starts with a 4.04 ERA, striking a batter and three-quarters for every batter he walked. There were a lot of positives about Pettibone’s performance in 2013: as a 22-year old, Pettibone posted numbers very close to his minor league averages (6.4 K/9 IP in MiLB v. 5.92 in MLB, 1.228 WHIP v. 1.478), confirming the suspicion of prospectors that believed Pettibone, while not having the highest ceiling of any of the Phillies starters, likely has the highest floor.
Pettibone likely would have finished the season in the Phillies rotation had the injury bug not bitten. After giving up three earned runs to eventual ALCS participant Detroit Tigers in five innings on July 28, Pettibone was shut down with an inflamed rotator cuff. Pettibone would attempt two rehab starts, August 15 in Reading and August 20 in Lehigh Valley, before being shut down for the rest of the year with, among other things, bicep tendinitis. Pettibone has been rehabbing in Clearwater with the Florida State Instructional League team, playing catch with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez according to Bob Brookover.
Grade: B-. Pettibone’s grade stems more from the fact that he was able to keep a sinking ship steady as a 22-year old rather than how his numbers compare to the league average, although it is worth noting that Pettibone had more quality starts than both John Lannan and Roy Halladay. Should Pettibone improve his walk rate to his Minor League averages, there is a very good chance that Pettibone becomes an extremely reliable fourth starter in the Major Leagues.