Nick Pivetta (L) and Mark Leiter Jr. (R) were both called up to Philadelphia in April.
PHILADELPHIA – Two former Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) alumni made their major league debuts with the Philadelphia Phillies last month. Mark Leiter Jr. (Amsterdam, 2011-12) tossed a perfect inning of relief on April 28 in Los Angeles, and Nick Pivetta (Glens Falls, 2012) toed the rubber against the Dodgers two days later in his first big league start.
Leiter, who was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on April 18, needed just 12 pitches to retire Yasmani Grandal, Chase Utley, and Cody Bellinger in the seventh inning of Philadelphia’s 5-3 loss at Dodger Stadium.
"It was cool," Leiter told MLB.com about facing Utley, a former standout with the Phillies. "Growing up watching the Phillies, he contributed to a lot of great years. Any time you can face guys that you watched growing up and rooted for is a pretty cool feeling. That's something you dream about."
The son of Mark Leiter Sr., a veteran of 11 seasons in the majors who played for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998, and the nephew of Al Leiter, a two-time All-Star who pitched in 19 seasons in the pros from 1987 to 2005, the youngest Leiter played for the Mohawks in 2011 and 2012. In his first season with Amsterdam, Leiter made 10 starts, tossed 54.0 innings, and struck out a league-high 74. The following summer, he fanned 32 batters in 29.0 innings while registering a minute 1.55 ERA. He garnered All-PGCBL honors in both of his seasons in Carpet City, and was inducted in the Amsterdam Mohawks Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013. So far in his major league career, Leiter has posted a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 innings, which includes 2.0 scoreless frames against Washington on May 6.
Although Pivetta took the loss in Philly’s 5-3 road defeat in Los Angeles, he amassed 5.0 solid innings of work in his major league debut on April 30. He surrendered just two earned runs on nine hits and struck out five. The former Glens Falls pitcher fanned the All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning for his first-ever big league strikeout and retired standout outfielder Yasiel Puig once swinging and once looking.
"I was real happy with Pivetta," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told MLB.com following his first start. "He pitched himself into some trouble but got out of it and limited the damage, gave us an opportunity to win the game."
The Canadian-born Pivetta fanned 16 batters in 20.1 innings of work for Glens Falls under its former moniker, the Golden Eagles, during the summer of 2012. Following a breakout sophomore season at New Mexico Junior College, Perfect Game named him the nation’s third-best junior college prospect, and he was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft. After being sent to the Phillies in exchange for Jonathan Papelbon in 2015, Pivetta quickly ascended the minor league ranks, and is currently the 12th-ranked prospect in the Philadelphia farm system. In his second start for the Phillies against his old organization on May 5, the 6-foot-5 righty struck out six in 5.0 innings, and he registered five more strikeouts on May 13 against the Nats.