Phillies: Debating Nick Pivetta vs Vince Velasquez

Nick Pivetta #43 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Nick Pivetta #43 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 17: Nicholas Pivetta #43 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 17, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Why not Pivetta?

When looking at their career numbers, it’s obvious why one would trend towards picking Velasquez as the better starter. He has a better ERA, WHIP, FIP, win-loss record, AND has more overall experience. However, that hidden potential still tucked away inside Pivetta should give him the edge.

The Phillies overhauled their coaching staff this offseason. With the departures of Gabe Kapler and Chris Young comes the arrival of Joe Girardi and Bryan Price. Girardi and Price are known around the league for their ability to get the best out of pitchers.

Upgraded pitching staff or not, we have likely seen the best of Velasquez. He struggles to locate his fastball, can’t pitch deep into games, has no real *strikeout pitch*, and at 27 he’s no longer a “young prospect”. While the duo of Girardi and Price may be able to turn Vince into a decent #5 starter, that’s about all he’ll ever be.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

Pivetta, on the other hand, has legitimately shown ace-like potential before. Despite his record and ERA not totally reflecting it, he was an above average pitcher in 2018.

When compared to other pitchers in the national league Pivetta ranked: 5th in strikeouts per 9 innings, 8th in total strikeouts, 9th in Ks/BBs, and 9th in games started. With the proper coaching, Pivetta wouldn’t just be a solid #5 pitcher, he would be a solid #3 pitcher. With just three years under his belt as a major leaguer, hope isn’t gone just yet.

Now the Phillie faithful have been told this story before when it comes to Nick. Ultimately, just simply signing a guy like Alex Wood or calling up Howard makes the most sense for the Phils’ rotational woes.

However, it appears Matt Klentak and the front office are banking on their new coaches to work some magic with some of their young pitchers.

If that is indeed the case, the candidate for “back of the rotation project” should be Pivetta without a doubt.