Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pivetta promoted to Advanced A ball

Victoria's Nick Pivetta
As I predicted last fall, the Washington Nationals announced recently that former HarbourCat Nick Pivetta was being promoted to the Carolina League for the start of the 2015 season. The Victoria native, who is ranked by Baseball America as the 10th-best prospect in the Nationals' system, was assigned to the Class A (Advanced) Potomac Nationals.

On top of earning the promotion, Pivetta took to the mound Thursday night as Potomac’s Opening Day starter and he came through with an outstanding outing. The 6-5, 220 lb. right-hander held the Lynchburg Hillcats to only one earned run on three hits and two walks in a nifty five innings on the hill. Pivetta also struck out seven Hillcats on the night. Although the only run that he surrendered scored on a squibber than barely made it past the mound, he was still tagged with the hard-luck loss.

Pivetta was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, just a few hours after throwing the first pitch in HarbourCats history. He went a combined 1-1 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 34 innings split between Rookie and Short Season ‘A’ ball in 2013. Pivetta then spent the entire 2014 season in the South Atlantic League (Class A) with the Hagerstown (Maryland) Suns, going 13-8 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 132 ⅓ innings pitched.

The other former HarbourCat in the minors, Alex Real, is currently serving a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test last November. The 22-year-old slugger tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, the same stimulant that Jays starter Marcus Stroman was caught using in 2012.

Real holds the single-season record for the highest slugging percentage in HarbourCats history (.518 in 2013). He was drafted as a junior out of the University of New Mexico by the Minnesota Twins in the 24th round of the 2014 draft, and he was assigned to the Elizabethon (Tenessee) Twins in the Appalachian (Rookie) League shortly after signing. Real posted a .284 batting average with one homer and 11 RBI in 88 at-bats for Elizabethon. The Twins don't have a Short Season A affiliate, so Real may start the 2015 season in Class A ball with the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernels when his suspension ends, although a brief return to Elizabethon is not out of the question.

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