Phillies’ pitching wish list

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 27: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 27: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola /
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Will More Runs from His Teammates Lead to Better Outings from Velasquez. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images.
Will More Runs from His Teammates Lead to Better Outings from Velasquez. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. /

While many think spending money and trading for a name starter are the answers, other options are available to general manager Matt Klentak of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Big Ifs:

The appearance of overnight success has its birth in the years of trial and error with surprises among the disappointments.

Beginning with the smallest hope to the biggest want, this article demonstrates the difference from one extreme to the other. But while the in-house arms have yet to completely shine, the question here is their location on the path of three summers in the majors to make an impact.

During his first offseason in Philly, Klentak moved Ken Giles to acquire Vince Velasquez and Mark Appel: Both have mid-90’s smoke. In fact, the GM used Velasquez’s questionable health to pick up righty Appel in place of the outfielder because the hard thrower was another shot at a front-of-the-rotation arm. Basically, the exec’s ploy was to balk at the last minute and add a second fireballer to the package. A circuitous route.

While Appel languishes with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, he will be 27 in mid-July and has never pitched more than his 82 innings in 2017. Unfortunately, His best ERA was 3.69 for 39 Double-A frames in 2014.

Regarding Velasquez, 25, he recorded ERAs from 3.07 to 3.36 for rookie ball in 2010 through Single-A in 2013. But he missed 2011 due to Tommy John surgery. In ’14, even though his ERA rose to 3.74 at Single-A Advanced, he received a promotion to Double-A. Remarkably, after he went 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA for 26 1/3 frames in five starts, the Houston Astros advanced him to the major leagues. But he only produced ERAs of 4.01 and 4.12 for seven and 24 outings respectively for 2015 and 2016. However, he has only started 46 games and will be entering his third MLB campaign workwise, which means he could make an impact in 2018.

After struggling with a 4.22 ERA at Single-A, Nick Pivetta sparkled with a 2.29 ERA at Single-A Advanced for the end of ’14 and the beginning of ’15 respectively. But because he produced a Double-A ERA of over 7.00 before and after the swap, he remained with the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils to record a 3.41 ERA for 22 outings in 2016. Additionally, he dominated at Lehigh Valley for five starts each in ’16 and ’17. And his last three performances for the red pinstripes in September and October showed the same promise.

Pivetta, 25:

  • 2016 and 2017: 10 AAA Gms., 6-2 with a 1.91 ERA for 56 2/3 Inn.
  • 2017: Last 3 MLB Gms., 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA for 17 Inn.