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Nick Pivetta making the early case for promotion

We’ve talked quite a bit about Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez. We’ve taken a shining to Jerad Eickhoff. And we’ve seen what Jake Thompson and Zach Eflin can do with some major league experience.

Ben Lively is now here. Mark Appel? We hope soon.

But right now, at least, the best starting pitcher in the Phillies system may be Nick Pivetta, somewhat forgotten, but looking more and more like a real steal.

Pivetta, as you may remember, was acquired in the 2015 deadline-period deal that sent beleaguered reliever Jonathan Papelbon to Washington, in a move that didn’t quite work out for the Nationals. He was regarded well at the time (the Nats’ No. 10 prospect back then) but was a normal mover – a double-A arm – without the flashiest stuff (though his slider is pretty nice).

He’s still moving normally, but he’s really flashing it now.

Pivetta on Wednesday struck out 11 en route to a four-hit, six-inning win against Columbus. For the season (three starts) Pivetta has 24 strikeouts, second in the International League. His 0.95 ERA and 0.74 WHIP is also among leaders among qualified starters.

This after a good performance in the World Baseball Classic (2.25 ERA, 1 K) and in Clearwater (2.25 ERA, 7 K, 2 BB), where he worked with former Phillie Roy Halladay and earned heaps of praise from the organizational brass.

There may be some flashy names in the system, but right now, none is working like Pivetta.

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