Well, the Cincinnati Reds made a big trade on Sunday afternoon as they sent starting pitcher Sonny Gray and minor league pitching prospect Francis Peguero to the Minnesota Twins for right-handed pitching prospect Chase Petty.
For Cincinnati’s big league club it’s another big blow to the starting rotation which now has to replace both Sonny Gray and Wade Miley from last year’s club. Those two combined to throw 298.1 innings with a 3.74 ERA last year. While the Reds have more than a few seemingly good options to step in from the farm system, replacing that production in 2022 is going to be a huge ask.
From the perspective of what’s coming back in the deal, Cincinnati is certainly improving their farm system. Chase Petty was the 26th overall selection in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft. He didn’t pitch much after being picked, throwing just 5.0 innings over one start and one relief appearance for the Twins complex level team in Florida.
On one hand, Cincinnati saved money by not having to pay the signing bonus for Petty. And they also saved a bunch of money (just over $10M) by trading away Sonny Gray and what was remaining on his contract. For a team that used the phrase “aligning payroll to resources”, well it seems that they are at least trying to get payroll down. That could change if they spend the money they were going to pay Gray on big leaguers this year, but that’s a wait-and-see situation right now.
On the other hand, though, if you are going to dream on a prospect with a huge upside, Chase Petty is exactly the kind of guy you envision. His fastball has reached 102 MPH. His slider is nearly as good as the fastball. And while he hasn’t used his change up much – and why would he given that all that does in high school is give overmatched kids a chance – it’s a pitch that scouts see promise in that could be an above-average offering in the future.
There’s also plenty of risk that is involved with Chase Petty. It’s not his fault that he’s just 18-years-old, but with his age and being a pitcher there are plenty of hurdles that he’s going to have to clear moving forward. Unfortunately pitchers get hurt often enough, and ones that throw harder are at a slightly higher risk for injury, too. Petty, while noted for his athleticism, is also noted to have some effort in his delivery. As Baseball America noted in their write up of Petty in the 2022 Prospect Handbook, “Petty’s upside is significant, but his specific player demographic is inherently risky and he’ll need plenty of time to develop.”
Petty could eventually be a great fit for Cincinnati. The best pitchers that have come through Great American Ball Park have been guys that had both good ground ball rates and missed some bats. While we don’t know yet how Petty’s numbers will be, the profile is there for both of those things. He’s got elite velocity with his fastball, and unlike many others who throw in the upper 90’s+, his fastball is a sinker. Toss in a plus slider and you are also looking at a guy who projects to miss bats.
Between now and that potential future is going to be plenty of pitching for the 18-year-old right-hander. And there’s going to be plenty of development, too. Petty has been on the radar for the club for a while. One of the Reds scouts had done a lot of work on him prior to the draft last season and the club thought he could have been there in the comp round for them to select. He wasn’t and the Reds wound up selecting outfielder Jay Allen with that pick instead.
Where does Chase Petty rank?
While I’m not ready just yet to toss Chase Petty into the Reds farm system rankings – I’d like to talk to more people, watch more video, etc. With that said, we can talk about where Chase Petty ranked at the various other publications within the Twins farm system.
- Baseball America – 7th
- Fangraphs – 14th
- Baseball Prospectus – 4th
- The Athletic – 9th
As you can see, there’s a pretty wide variety of opinions with where Chase Petty ranked. Most of the reports are similar despite the ranking. It seems that the ranking is more about just how much risk the publication places on Petty’s mechanics and what they may mean for his future as a starting pitcher.