Hot Take: Is Nick Pivetta Worth Holding, A Sleeper To Stash & More Fallout From Pivetta’s Triple-A Demotion

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It can’t be seen as a complete surprise that the Phillies have sent Nick Pivetta down to Triple-A.  One of the popular preseason sleepers, he has continued to struggle and fail to put up strong results.  Even when spotted a 10 run lead yesterday he barely lasted the required 5.0 innings to qualify for a win.

For now he heads to Triple-A leaving behind the following numbers:

18.1 IP, 8.35 ERA, 2.13 WHIP, 7.85 K/9, 3.93 BB/9

At this point can we simply point towards metrics as a reason to believe?  Sure a .413 BABIP and 66.7% strand rate would make you think that an improvement is imminent, but the underlying numbers aren’t quite as clear:

  • Hard% – 39.7%
  • HR/9 – 2.45
  • SwStr% – 8.5%
  • O-Swing% – 26.0%

The SwStr% and O-Swing% are both down from a year ago (12.0% and 31.0%, respectively).  His slider simply hasn’t been as effective (Whiff% went from 17.12% to 9.76%) and his fourseam fastball has been pummeled (.415 BAA, .805 SLG).

 Is there a chance that he figures it out and returns to make an impact?  Absolutely, and in dynasty/keeper leagues keeping him stashed makes sense.  In redraft leagues though?  That’s a different story, because his return to relevance could be well down the road.

Initially the Phillies will turn to Jerad Eickhoff to take over the spot.  Over 385.2 IP in the Majors he owns a career 8.19 K/9 and 2.52 BB/9, which appear promising, but a 39.2% groundball rate tells us home run issues loom.  Sure he showed promise back in ’16 (3.65 ERA), but things turned in ’17 (4.71 ERA) as his luck wasn’t as beneficial (.328 BABIP, 71.0% strand rate) and that was before his ’18 was wiped out by injury.  It’s hard to get excited…

The Phillies also have ample arms in the minors ready to step up.  Already on the 40-man roster include:

  • Enyel De Los Santos (0.75 ERA over 12.0 IP at Triple-A)
  • Adonis Medina (3.60 ERA over 10.0 IP at Double-A)
  • Ranger Suarez (8.00 ERA over 9.0 IP at Triple-A)

De Los Santos is the truly intriguing option, after making his MLB debut last season.  That said his 7.82 K/9, 3.06 BB/9 and 41.1% groundball rate over 126.2 IP at Triple-A isn’t going to blow you away.  He did have an 11.7% SwStr%, which shows more upside, and he’s potentially started to unlock some of that potential (19 K vs. 2 BB in his two Triple-A starts this season).  If that’s accurate he’s going to make an impact, and while Medina may hold more value long-term De Los Santos is an intriguing immediate stash.

Summary:

  • Nick Pivetta – Droppable in redraft formats (hold in keeper/dynasty)
  • Jerad Eickhoff – Easily ignored (especially with first start coming in Coors)
  • Enyel De Los Santos – Worthy stash

Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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