An Exclusive Interview with Clearwater’s Jon Pettibone

The Phillies selected Jon Pettibone in the third round of the 2008 Amateur Draft. He attended Esperanza High School in Anaheim, Calif.

The 21-year old, 6’5 right-hander is having the best season of his four-year minor league career.

His father, Jay Pettibone, had a short four-game stint in the bigs for the 1983 Minnesota Twins. Charlie Manuel managed Jay in 1984 for the Orlando Twins, Minnesota’s Double-A affiliate.

Jon Pettibone hopes to play for Manuel a couple years from now for the Phillies.

Follow Jon Pettibone on twitter @Jon_Pettibone

Moving on Up

photo courtesy of philliesnation.com

Jon Pettibone has quietly matriculated his way up the ranks. Not only has he moved up a level each year, he’s improved each season.

“Every year, I’m having a great time and learning a lot.  It’s definitely been a success and fun so far,” Pettibone said.

Season Team Age W L GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA
2008 Phillies (R) 17 0 1 1 1.0 0.00 9.00 0.00 0.00
2009 Phillies (A-) 18 2 4 8 35.1 9.17 4.08 0.00 5.35
2010 Phillies (A) 19 8 6 23 131.1 5.76 2.81 0.69 3.49
2011 Phillies (A+) 20 8 10 23 140.1 6.54 2.05 0.26 3.15

He’s cut down on his walks and home runs, and improved his strikeout rate and ERA from last season.

He isn’t as heralded as the big three arms in the system (Brody Colvin, Trevor May and Jesse Biddle), but his numbers aren’t too far off, if not on par with those three.

Pettibone pitches to contact and lets his defense do the work behind him.

“Right now I’m throwing a four-seam and two-seam fastball, slider and changeup,” Pettibone said. “The biggest key for me is attacking the hitters, getting first-pitch strikes. I mix it up by changing speeds and moving the ball in and out. We have a really solid defense behind me, they help me out a lot.”

He also touched on throwing to the defensively improved catcher Sebastian Valle.

“Valle’s always been offensively strong,” Pettibone said. “Throwing to him all last year and all this year, we kind of know each other in and out. It’s nice having a partner like that.”

The Trading Deadline

courtesy of reclinergm.com

In the last five years, the Phillies have landed behemoths such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge and the recently acquired Hunter Pence via trade. During that time, they’ve also sent away a plethora of prospects.

“I try to stay away from it (trade rumors) as much as I can,” Pettibone said. “It’s kind of hard to, there’s so much talk going on in the clubhouse and stuff. The last few years the Phillies have been consistent and they’ve made one of those big deals the last few years.”

“We knew it was going to happen, we just didn’t know when. Once it was getting closer and closer, everyone was pretty anxious to see what was going to happen.”

He commented on losing teammates Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton.

“Cosart was my roommate,” Pettibone said. “We signed during the same time back in ’08. We were definitely close. We’ve progressed each level, each year together. He was one of my better friends, so it was tough seeing him leave. Especially the morning when he left the room, but I know he’s happy with what happened.”

“I know he’s in a good spot, he’s home. He’s from Houston. Singleton actually went home, too. He’s from California and they (Astros) sent him to Lancaster. So they’re both really excited.”

From a Threshers point of view, they’re in the playoff hunt and losing those two key cogs hurt.

“It’s tough losing them this close to the end of the season,” Pettibone said. “Cosart was one of our big arms and Singleton was our source of power. Overall, I’m happy for them and I think they’ll make the most of their opportunity.”

Clearwater stands at 64-54 on the season, and 25-24 in the second half, 1.5 games back of Dunedin Blue Jays. The second-half division winner will take on the Daytona Cubs, the first-half winner in the postseason.

Pettibone has playoff experience during his stint in Lakewood last season. He tossed six no-hit innings and recorded a career-high nine punchouts in the series-clinching game that sent the Blue Claws to the South Atlantic League Championship Series.

As for Pettibone’s new roommate, it’s the recently promoted David Buchanan.

2011 FSL All-Star Game

courtesy of raysprospects.com

Bright House Field, the home of the Clearwater Threshers, played host to Florida State League’s 50th All-Star Game.

Jon Pettibone got the nod as the starter for the North. He came into the contest fourth in the FSL in ERA (2.47).

“It was pretty neat that they let me start the game at my home field. It was a big honor and it was nice to stay local,” Pettibone said.

He set the South down in order in his only inning of work.

Pettibone, along with teammates Jarred Cosart, Trevor May and Julio Rodriguez, combined to pitch four innings of shutout ball.

The North defeated the South 5-3.

Learning from the Pros

Credit: Mark LoMoglio

Several key Phillies players have played down in Clearwater as part of rehabbing assignments this season.

Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton have all laced up their spikes at Bright House Field.

Pettibone talked about what he learned from the pitchers.

“Madson was down with us a couple of weeks ago, I spoke with him a little bit. Blanton’s been down. I picked their brain and asked as many questions as I can. What they do and how they go about their business,” he said.

The 23-Inning Marathon

courtesy of ftrsports.com

Earlier on in the season, the Phillies participated in the well documented 19-inning thriller against Cincinnati. Well, the Threshers took part on the losing end of a 2-1 23-inning loss against Jupiter.

“It was an experience,” Pettibone said. “I was charting in the stands for our pitchers. I was in the stands for at least five hours. We didn’t even end up winning the game. Hopefully, 23-inning games don’t come around again.”

Each squad used eight pitchers. The game took five hours and 37 minutes to complete.

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