Nick Pivetta, a right handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, has been in the major leagues for three years. (Since 2017) In that time, Pivetta has posted 5.34 career ERA in 390.2 innings pitched. To put that in perspective: the average pitcher’s ERA in the major leagues is 4.47. The 2017 season for the Phillies was less than spectacular. They finished the season 66-96 which was good for last in the NL East. Given this information, it is fair to say that by late April in 2017, the Phillies knew that they were not going to be making any playoff runs that season. Having this in mind, the coaches and front office wanted to look to the future to try to develop some new, younger pitchers to help make a difference for the team in upcoming seasons. Keeping all this in mind, the Phillies decided to call up a 24 year old Nick Pivetta, on April 30th, 2017 for a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 2017 season went about the way people would have predicted. He didn’t light up any stat categories, but he did show some potential and some room to grow. He posted a 6.02 ERA in 133 innings pitched over 26 starts.
By the time the 2018 season rolled around, the Phillies had fired their manager and were looking for a fresh start. Nick Pivetta was looking to make a name for himself as a legitimate big league starter. In 2018 the Phillies definitely started to turn things around. They finished with an 80-82 record, and fell just short during a late playoff push. A big surprise from the 2018 Phillies, was Nick Pivetta’s huge improvements. He finished the year with a 4.77 ERA. Now, this stat was not particularly great, it was a huge improvement from the prior year. Pivetta also gave up two less earned runs in 31 more innings pitched. He also allowed one less home run and six less walks. (Keep in mind how much more he pitched)
The plan for Pivetta was that if he could continue to improve every year the way he did in 2018, he would eventually get to be a top level pitcher. That’s not exactly how 2019 played out. Pivetta made the team in 2019 as the number two pitcher behind Nola and ahead of Arietta. It was obvious that everyone was hoping that this could be the breakout year for Pivetta. However, in his first four starts, he gave up 17 earned runs in only 18.1 innings. Good for a 8.45 ERA. The furthest he had gone into a game during this time was five innings. In his fifth start of the year, everyone was hoping that he could get it together. He put forth a mediocre performance. He went five innings and allowed three earned runs. Even Pivetta’s slight glimmer of hope was not enough to prevent him from being sent down to Triple A. After a brief stint in Triple A, Pivetta was brought back and performed well. He had two back to back very good starts which showed everyone that he might be able to redeem himself after all. That sadly wasn’t the case. His next five starts he gave up 22 earned runs in only 27.1 innings pitched. (7.31 ERA) Pivetta’s next start lasted only three innings. After that, Gabe Kapler gave him another chance to shine by moving him to the bullpen. Pivetta wouldn’t start another game that year. He didn’t pitch horribly out of the bullpen. He gave up 12 earned runs in 24.2 innings which was good for a 4.46 ERA. The point to all of this is, Nick Pivetta had a ton of hype surrounding his name heading into the 2019 season. After not pitching well in his first five starts, he was sent down. Then, he was gifted another opportunity to come back and start a few games, and he didn’t pitch well. Then, he was gifted yet another opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen and didn’t prove anything.
Right now, heading into the 2020 MLB season, Phillies fans have two ways to look at the Nick Pivetta situation. The first way to look at it is: He has been in the league for 3 years now and is yet to post an ERA under 4.00. He is 27 this year and hasn’t proven anything yet. The other way to look at it is: He has only pitched for three seasons. He improved greatly from 2017 to 2018 and just had a down year in 2019. Regardless of how you view this, I think that it is safe to say that Nick Pivetta should have to earn everything including his roster spot this year. Especially with some new hyped up young pitchers in camp looking to make the team. Pivetta should have to prove that he can be a consistent 4.00 ERA or better. He will be competing against at least two other people for a roster spot. It will be very interesting to see how many more opportunities Nick Pivetta will get in the Phillies organization.