No. 22: Right-Handed Pitcher Nick Pivetta
Nick Pivetta was the only piece the Phillies got back in exchange for Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline last year. I was hoping for more in the trade, but the Phillies didn’t have much leverage considering what a poor clubhouse presence Papelbon is. Pivetta’s debut in the organization was rough, as he posted a 7.31 ERA in seven starts with Double-A Reading.
Thankfully, Pivetta looked much better this time around in Double-A. In 22 starts, Pivetta posted a 1.20 WHIP and 3.41 ERA. He posted the highest strikeout rate of any full or partial season in his minor-league career; well, until he was promoted to Triple-A anyway.
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Pivetta made five starts in Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the last month of the 2016 season. In 24.2 innings, he struck out 27 batters but also walked 10. The righty ended his stint there with a 2.55 ERA.
Pivetta’s calling card is his power sinker, which he can run into the mid-90s. However, he operates more as a strikeout pitcher, using his curveball to punch guys out. Pivetta also possesses a changeup, but it is a below-average pitch that still needs to develop.
On the command side, Pivetta is a still a trip. When Pivetta can control his arsenal, he is a strong pitcher on the mound.
More times than not, Pivetta can’t command his pitches and he struggles mightily.
The hope is Pivetta can stay in the rotation as long his command develops. He could even work his way into the middle if his changeup improves as well. That’s banking on a lot of ifs, and some evaluators feel like Pivetta will end up in the bullpen down the road.