Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Breakout Candidate: Yusmeiro Petit (RHP, SEA)

While the Screaming Indian is first and foremost an Atlanta Braves blog, I do reserve the right to publish my musings on players on other teams – particularly as it relates to their (f)utility in fantasy baseball – whenever it may strike my fancy.  With that out of the way, I invite you to consider my opinion on the possibility that Yusmeiro Petit will be much better in 2010 than in 2009...

Yusmeiro Petit has landed with the Seattle Mariners after a rather unpleasant two-year layover in Arizona en route from Miami.  Petit’s last dominant season was in 2005 when he posted at 3.65 ERA on the strength of 9.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in the Marlins’ minor league system.  Petit did manage to post a 3.0 K/BB in 56 1/3 IP with the Diamondbacks in 2008 before having a god-awful season in 2009.  I’d been eyeing Petit as a potential breakout candidate in last year, but a doubling of his ’08 walk rate and an extreme fly ball tendency in one of the best MLB hitters’ parks ultimately did him in. 
With that said, I’ve previously given up on prospects following disappointing campaigns only to be made to look like a fool when the capitalized on their considerable promise in the following season (e.g., Carlos Quentin).  If Petit can regain the command of the strike zone that he displayed in 2008 he may be primed for a breakout in 2010.  Already in his favor, Petit will be moving from an extreme hitters’ park to an extreme pitchers’ park, and he will be backed by the best outfield defense in the major leagues.
The main caveat to my endorsement is that a degree of role uncertainty does exist, as Petit spent some time coming out of the bullpen in Arizona.  It’s not immediately clear how Seattle will employ him – the addition of Cliff Lee certainly didn’t help his chances of landing in the rotation.
I would avoid (but keep an eye on) Petit in shallow fantasy leagues, but he might be worth a late-round flier in AL Only leagues.  2010 may be the year where skills and fortune are at last working in unison for Yusmeiro. Only 25 years old, Petit still has a few years before we should start doubting that he’ll ever put it all together.

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