Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pivetta continues journey to the big leagues

The player who threw the first pitch and earned the first win in franchise history could become the first former Victoria HarbourCat to make the big leagues. Nick Pivetta, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals, made two starts with the HarbourCats before he inked a professional contract last June for a $364,300 US signing bonus.

Former HarbourCat Nick Pivetta
After leaving the HarbourCats, the Victoria native appeared in four games in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie level) and earned a quick promotion to Short Season ‘A’ ball after posting a sparkling 2.13 ERA with the GCL Nationals. Pivetta was then assigned to the Auburn (NY) Doubledays of the New York-Penn League for the remainder of the 2013 season. He notched a 3.38 ERA for the Doubledays in spite of battling periods of uncharacteristic wildness (11 walks in 21 ⅓ innings).

The Nationals showed confidence in Pivetta by promoting him to ‘A’ ball for the beginning of the 2014 season, and he has responded to the challenge. In 9 starts this spring, Pivetta has a 3.27 ERA and 1.32 WHIP for the Hagerstown (Maryland) Suns, and his 7-2 record gives him the most wins in the entire South Atlantic League. Don’t be surprised if Pivetta moves up another level in the second half of the season -- he could soon be suiting up for the Potomac Nationals (Advanced ‘A’) or the Harrisburg Senators (‘AA’).

Of course, it’s entirely possible that another former HarbourCat beats Pivetta to the big leagues. Last summer we made it clear to anyone who would listen that Alex Real looks like a guy who is destined to be an MLB player, and his work with the University of New Mexico Lobos this spring has done nothing to change our mind. Real recently was named to the short list of candidates for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award.

The steady progress that both Pivetta and Real have shown in the last year reflects well on both the Victoria HarbourCats and the entire West Coast League. For a few measly dollars, fans can come out and watch future major leaguers in action at Royal Athletic Park (oops, I mean Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park). That’s pretty darn good value if you ask me.

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