Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #15 RHP Nick Pivetta

Nick Pivetta, image- Jay Floyd
Valued by the team that acquired him in 2015 in a trade for the organization’s all-time saves leader Jonathan Papelbon, right-hander Nick Pivetta used a successful campaign last year to launch himself into consideration as a rising commodity among the Phillies' collection of top pitching prospects.

A 4th round draft selection in 2013 by Washington, Pivetta would debut as a pro with the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League team, sporting a 1-0 record and a 2.13 ERA in four appearances. He would later be promoted to Auburn of the New York-Penn League that year. In five starts there, he would post a 0-1 record with a 3.38 ERA while striking out 17 and walking 11 in 21 1/3 innings.

The following season with Hagerstown of the Class A South Atlantic League Pivetta would post a 13-8 record with a 4.22 ERA, a .277 batting average against as well as a 6.7 K/9 mark in 26 outings (25 starts).

In 2015, he opened his campaign with Potomac of the Class A Advanced Carolina League. In 15 appearances (14 starts), Pivetta had a 7-4 record, a 2.29 ERA and a .225 BAA. He would earn a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg where he did not look great, going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA prior to the swap.

After joining the Phillies, Pivetta would stay in the Double-A Eastern League on the Reading roster. He continued to struggle, recording a 7.31 ERA in seven starts there.

Pivetta opened his first full season in the Phillies’ organization in 2016 looking to bounce back with Reading and he definitely did. Through 22 starts for the Fightins, the six-foot-five 220-pounder posted an 11-6 record with a 3.41 ERA, a .235 batting average against as well as an 8.0 K/9 mark. He was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to close out the season, tallying a 1-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in five regular season starts.

The British Columbia native can bring the heat with his fastball, regularly clocking in the 95-96  MPH range. He serves up quality breaking balls from his arsenal, said to be separately a slider and a curve. His change up can assist with keeping batters guessing, but could use some refinement, per scouting reports.

With the Phils, Pivetta went through some mechanical changes that took some time to get used to.  Coaches say he matured a considerable amount over his first full year with his new organization.

Where Pivetta can continue to improve the most is with thinking ahead and having a plan on the mound. Learning from the Phillies' big league staff and guest instructors like Brad Lidge in spring training could certainly be beneficial to the youngster as well.

He is also set to participate in the World Baseball Classic with Team Canada along side veteran hurlers Eric Gagne and John Axford as well as former Phillies Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson.  The WBC will definitely be another great learning opportunity for Pivetta.

A taste of relief this spring could be helpful exposure, so the player and the organization can see what other options they may have going forward.

For those that may regard Pivetta as a sleeper prospect, Pivetta’s manager with Reading last year, Dusty Wathan, feels that Pivetta deserves as much attention as all of the more highly regarded guys within the Phils’ system.

Look for Pivetta back with the IronPigs to open the 2017 season.  

You can follow along with this year’s Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.
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