Phillies: 4 Players Who Would Benefit from 29-Man Roster
3. & 4. Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez
The consensus in spring training was that either Nick Pivetta or Vince Velasquez would beat each other out for the final, fifth spot in the starting rotation. The other would have either been cut, sent to the minors or used as a long reliever.
Now, with the rumored three additional roster spots, chances are that both Pivetta and Velasquez will be kept on the major-league roster. They both have experience with the team, and having as many possible pitchers who can throw several innings many be key for a shortened season where each game matters more than ever.
RELATED | Phillies: Top 5 starting pitchers since 1980
The thing is, neither Pivetta nor Velasquez particularly stood out in spring training, which complicated the decision between choosing either even more difficult prior to the pause in action. Pivetta posted an 8.22 ERA across 7 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, seven runs and four walks while striking out 10 batters. Velasquez, meanwhile, yielded a pair of home runs and five walks across as many innings, while striking out four fewer batters than Pivetta en route to a 4.70 ERA. Both were charged with one loss.
Currently, Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin have the first four spots in the rotation secured. Pivetta and Velasquez will get a chance to show why they deserve to be among the mix if/when the second phase of “spring” training starts up. Assuming Spencer Howard remains in the minors leagues, that may not matter and the Phillies may decide to keep both on a potential 29-man roster no matter what.
The only other potential starter candidate, barring a free agent signing, would be southpaw Ranger Suarez, who went 1-1 with a. 2.25 ERA in spring; however, opposing batters hit .313 against him, as opposed to .303 against Pivetta and .250 against Velasquez.