The 2020 regular season is scheduled to begin in late July, which means it’s finally time to talk some baseball! To prepare you for the season, Phillies Nation will be taking an in-depth look at all of your favorite players. Here’s a review of Nick Pivetta’s 2019 season as well as what to expect from the Phillies starter in 2020.
2019 Statline: 93 2/3 IP, 13 GS, 4-6 Record, 5.38 ERA, 5.47 FIP, 1.52 WHIP, 9.9 H/9, 1.92 HR/9, 3.75 BB/9, 8.55 K/9, 0.0 fWAR
2019 Season in Review
Heading into the 2019 season, RHP Nick Pivetta was one of the players that held the most promise for the Philadelphia Phillies. After a few flashy performances in 2018 where Pivetta showed his front-of-the-rotation potential, he was widely considered one of Major League Baseball’s leading breakout candidates. With the Phillies set to play on Sunday Night Baseball in the first series of the season, then-manager Gabe Kapler saved the experienced Jake Arrieta for the third game of the season. That left Pivetta to start the second game of the season for the Phillies, a billing he struggled to live up to in 2019.
After four starts in the 2019 season, Pivetta had allowed five home runs and 31 hits in just 18 1/3 innings. He was optioned down to the minor leagues and was replaced by Jerad Eickhoff on April 17.
He seemed to get back to his form in the minors, striking out 14 in a 6-5 win over the Triple-A Buffalo Bison. His hot streak continued when he came back up to reclaim his starting position. Over his first five games back, Pivetta averaged a 3.13 ERA over 31 1/3 innings and allowed only seven runs and 11 walks while striking out 29. Pivetta demonstrated his potential to the Phillies with his performance on June 8 against the Cincinnati Reds when he pitched all nine innings, allowing only six hits, one run and no walks.
In those five games, the Phillies saw his full potential, but he began to falter again and never really recovered. He was taken out of the rotation in July and sent to the bullpen. Although he had some successful outings as a reliever, he never earned his spot back in the rotation. Pivetta’s struggles continued through to the end of the season.
2020 Season Preview
Heading into this unconventional 60-game season, the starting rotation is nowhere near set and will probably change throughout the season. With Zack Wheeler likely to miss a few games because of paternity leave and still considering opting out once his baby is born, a spot in the starting rotation might open up for Pivetta.
However, after such an inconsistent performance in 2019, the Phillies organization might be hesitant to put him in the starting rotation. Pivetta could come out and fulfill his potential, or he could come out, like last season, in a slump. With only 60 games in the regular season, there is little room for error. If Pivetta continues to be inconsistent, the Phillies might not risk putting him into a starting position.
Pivetta will face even more difficulty finding a spot in the starting rotation with No. 1 overall prospect Spencer Howard in the Phillies’ roster pool for the season. Because of the season delay, Howard might find himself in the starting lineup faster than expected.
Instead, Pivetta could find a home in the Phillies bullpen. He found some success as a reliever and might be a valuable finisher for the Phillies.
When the season begins, the Phillies will hope that Pivetta can be a consistent contributor: whether in the bullpen or in the rotation.
Check out our previous 2020 Season Previews
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