- Full name Jacob Steven Petricka
- Born 06/05/1988 in Northfield, MN
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 218 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Indiana State
- Debut 08/22/2013
Drafted in the 2nd round (63rd overall) by the Chicago White Sox in 2010 (signed for $540,000).
View Draft ReportPetricka may have had more helium than any player a month before the draft, with his stock rising so rapidly that it could have carried him into the first round. He cooled off by season's end, and now figures to go in the sandwich or second round. He began his college career at Iowa Western CC, where he sat out 2007 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and mostly pitched in the high 80s. He touched 94 early in the 2009 season after transferring to Indiana State, but didn't hold that velocity and ultimately turned down the Yankees, who took him in the 34th round as a draft-eligible sophomore. Petricka was on follow lists for 2010, and early in the season he was nothing special, sitting at 90 mph and featuring a soft curveball. Starting in mid-April, he made a quantum leap and began pitching at 92-94 mph and reaching 98 with his fastball, holding his velocity deep into games. His breaking ball now has some power to it and grades as a solid-average pitch. Scouts have noted that the 6-foot-4, 180-pounder is doing a much better job of using his legs and finishing his delivery.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Petricka has teased scouts with his stuff for years, finally putting it all together in 2013 after a move to the bullpen. Drafted out of high school in 2006, he had Tommy John surgery in 2007 and went to Iowa Western CC before emerging at Indiana State. After signing for $540,000 as a 2010 second-rounder, Petricka threw more than 250 innings over two full seasons as a starter, reaching Double-A Birmingham. More thrower than pitcher, he shifted to relief in 2013 and finished the season in the major leagues, finding confidence in the role and becoming more consistently aggressive. Petricka's fastball velocity fluctuates. On good days, his fastball features heavy sink from 92-96 mph, and he complements it with a hard slider that has cutter action and scrapes the upper 80s. He'll mix in a changeup from time to time. In some outings, his velocity backed up, sitting at 91-92 mph, and his slider lacked consistency as well. Petricka threw a few more strikes in 2013 but will never have fine command, and his control likely limits him to a set-up role rather than a future closer potential. He'll have to have a good spring to earn a return trip to Chicago.
One of the system's top pitching prospects entering last season, Petricka was his own worst enemy at times and got hammered at two levels. He still has a high ceiling, but he won't reach it or have success against more advanced hitters until he can develop a reliable breaking ball and command his pitches. Originally drafted by the White Sox as a 38th-rounder out of a Minnesota high school in 2006, Petricka played in college at Iowa Western CC and Indiana State. He also had Tommy John surgery before signing with Chicago as a second-rounder in 2010. Petricka has a big-boy fastball that can sit in the mid-90s and has reached 100 mph, though he also pitched in the low 90s at times in 2012. His changeup shows the making of becoming a solid pitch, but he's handicapped by an inconsistent curveball. Even when his stuff is on, he doesn't always locate it effectively, and he needs to learn to deal with failure better. If there was a positive to Petricka's 2012 season, it was that he held up for 29 starts after missing time the previous year with back issues. He'll return to Double-A to begin 2013, and he could be headed for the bullpen if he doesn't deliver better results.
The White Sox drafted Petricka in the 38th round out of a Minnesota high school in 2006 but didn't sign him, then took him again as a second-rounder in 2010. In between, he had stints at Iowa Western CC and Indiana State and lost a year to Tommy John surgery. He was overpowering in 2011 until he came down with back problems, missed most of June and wasn't as sharp afterward. Radar guns love Petricka, who works in the mid-90s with his fastball and has been clocked at 100 mph. He relies on his velocity at the expense of his other pitches, however. His curveball can be a hammer but often spins to the plate or sails to the screen. His changeup shows promise, though he lacks the confidence to throw it in hitter's counts. Petricka induces a lot of groundballs, a key for pitchers at U.S. Cellular Field. He can get mechanical at times and has spells where he doesn't throw enough strikes. Petricka has the ingredients to develop into an A.J. Burnett type but struggles to make adjustments. Some scouts believe he's destined for the bullpen, where he pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Chicago has more of a need for starters, so he'll get plenty of rope in that role.
The White Sox drafted Petricka in the 38th round out of a Minnesota high school in 2006, but had to wait four years to sign him. He had Tommy John surgery as a freshman at Iowa Western CC, and his velocity began to rise when he was a redshirt sophomore at Indiana State in 2009, when the Yankees drafted him in the 34th round. Petricka returned to the Sycamores, continued to add velocity and signed for $540,000 as a second-round pick in June. Petricka has a powerful, relatively low-mileage arm. He usually pitches at 92-96 mph with his fastball, and Chicago clocked him at 100 during his first pro summer. He holds his velocity deep into games. He has developed a solid breaking ball as his No. 2 pitch and he flashes a serviceable changeup. To keep his innings down, he moved to the bullpen after a promotion to low Class A Kannapolis. Relief may be his best role, because he has just one plus pitch and sometimes has difficulty repeating his delivery, which costs him command. The White Sox lack starting-pitching depth, so Petricka will remain in the rotation for now. He's still learning how to use his stuff and shouldn't be expected to move as quickly as recent Chicago draft picks Daniel Hudson and Chris Sale. Petricka should open 2011 in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
The White Sox drafted Petricka in the 38th round out of Faribault (Minn.) High in 2006, but didn't get their man until four years later as a second-rounder. In between, he had Tommy John surgery during his freshman year at Iowa Western CC and consistently added velocity afterward. Petricka dominated the Appy League for eight starts, though at 22, he's the oldest prospect on this list. His fastball sat at 93-96 mph when he started for Bristol, and he hit 98 several times after moving to the bullpen at low Class A Kannapolis. He figures to stay in a relief role because he doesn't throw enough quality strikes when his delivery gets out of whack, and his curveball and changeup are fringy at best.
Background: The White Sox drafted Petricka in the 38th round out of a Minnesota high school in 2006, but didn't sign him until taking him again as a second-rounder in 2010. In between, he had stints at Iowa Western CC and Indiana State and lost a year to Tommy John surgery. He was overpowering in 2011 until he had back problems, missed most of June and wasn't as sharp afterward.Scouting Report: Radar guns love Petricka, who works in the mid-90s and has been clocked at 100 mph. He relies on his fastball at the expense of his other pitches, however. His curveball can be a hammer but often spins to the plate or sails to the screen. His changeup shows promise, though he lacks the confidence to throw it in hitter's counts. Petricka induces a lot of groundballs, a key for pitchers at U.S. Cellular Field. He can get mechanical at times, and his command wavers.The Future: Petricka has the ingredients to develop into an A.J. Burnett-type starter but also struggles to make adjustments. Some scouts believe he's destined for the bullpen, where he pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Chicago has more of a need for starters, so he'll get plenty of rope as a starter. He'll open 2012 back in high Class A.