Phillies: Five Bold Predictions for Spring Training
A couple of Phillies really need to step up their game this offseason
We are only days away from Phillies spring training games being played.
Finally, after the long offseason wait baseball is back and we will soon be seeing the direction the Phillies are going this season. Everyone has bold predictions on what will unfold during spring training and these are some of my thoughts.
Nick Pivetta will win a starting rotation spot.
After the first bullpen session of the spring, Joe Girardi was asked if anybody caught his eye, the first name out of his mouth was Nick Pivetta.
"“Nick Pivetta looked really good. It looked like he shortened his arm stroke a little bit and we liked what we saw.”"
Girardi mentioned his shortened arm stroke but Pivetta is also rotating his lift leg more than he was the previous year.
During the offseason, Nick has been working out with Noah Syndergaard and Jack Flaherty and in offseason videos where you can see his tweak in mechanics.
For Pivetta, in the past, you don’t know what you’re going to get, he has been an up and down roller coaster but the potential is there. He has a good fastball thrown around 94-98 MPH and a curveball thrown around 80-84 MPH with a spin rate in the 92nd percentile in the league according to BaseballSavant.
His ceiling is high and whether it is as a starter or in the bullpen he has the stuff to be effective. Sometimes a simple tweak in your mechanics can get you over the hump and flip the switch to untapped potential.
When it comes to Vinny Velasquez you usually know what you’re getting. You have a pitcher that can give you up to five solid innings of work on a good day. Last season he gave the Phillies 117.1 innings (5.1 innings per game) with a 4.91 ERA. He’s a somewhat solid back-end starter but he could potentially be a big weapon in the bullpen with his velocity, the same could be said about Pivetta.
According to BaseballSavant, Velasquez fastball averages out at 94.2 MPH and tops out at 98.1, he’s in the 69th percentile in the league.
It’s too early to tell but I believe taking a chance on Pivetta at the number five-spot in the rotation is a good risk to take, and normally a rotation doesn’t make it through a whole season without injuries so we will most likely get a glance at each of them throughout the regular season.