When the baseball season returns (if at all), there is still one more glaring question facing Joe Girardi’s squad. Who will be the fifth starter in the 2020 rotation?
To start, the competitors for the spot are Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, and Ranger Suarez. Velasquez has never been very good for the Phillies, posting a 4.12 ERA in 2016, 5.13 in 2017, 4.85 in 2018, and 4.91 in 2019. He has had some instances where he has been very good, which is usually when he is throwing his fastball quite a bit. When he was in the bullpen for some time during the 2019 season, he did pitch marginally better, but not great. I feel that Velasquez’s future with the Phils is most likely as a late-inning bullpen arm. He would probably do better if someone told him to go pitch one inning and throw as hard as he can. Personally I’ve seen quite enough of Velasquez over the past four seasons, and I would be fine if the Phils decided to move on.
Competitor two is Nick Pivetta. His stats over his three seasons in Philadelphia have been very similar to Velasquez. In 2017, he posted an ERA of 6.02, in 2018, 4.77, and last season, 5.38. He also had a WAR of -0.5. Yes, not 0.5, -0.5. The Phillies decided with Pivetta just like Velasquez last season, to move him to the bullpen where he did pitch quite well for about two months. Pivetta, just like Velasquez, throws hard, so I also think Pivetta’s future with the team is in the bullpen. I’d be very happy to have him in the bullpen this season.
The last player, the underdog, is Ranger Suarez. In 2018, Suarez didn’t pitch too well in his four games, posting an ERA of 5.40. Last season, he pitched in the bullpen for the majority of the season posting a respectable ERA of 3.14 in 48.2 innings of work. Though he only started two games last season, Suarez is my favorite for the rotation spot. He pitched the best out of the three competitors for the spot last season, and I think he has the brightest future of the three players.
Suarez is my favorite for the spot; what’s yours? Visit my Instagram @philliesnews_ and vote in the comments of my recent post on Velasquez, Pivetta, and Suarez.