A Baseball Weblog

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The midseason Nova profile

As Joe Girardi put it, Ivan Nova will make his return to the majors in the tonight "unless something freaky happens."  Nova's had his ups and downs in his time as the Yankees' nominal fourth starter in 2011, and overall it would be fair to say that he did a serviceable job in the back-end of the rotation.  As a little refresher on Nova, here are the charts and graphs that you typically see around these parts. 

mph#LHB%RHB%SwingWhiff ZoneChaseWatchBallnsCallGB Rate



Nova has good tools, with his primary offering being a four-seam fastball that can get into the mid-90s with natural sink.  Despite his cross-seam grip and propensity to keep it up in the zone, the four-seamer generates plenty of ground balls.  His curveball is hard and has plenty of break, but it doesn't elicit nearly enough swings and whiffs for the amount of times it's thrown for a ball.  His changeup is pretty much a show-me pitch at this point.  I've mentioned his slider a few times on this site, and it still looks like an intriguing pitch with plenty of potential given that he keeps it down and has been able to miss bats with it.  He's brought it back into his repertoire after exiling it from April 19th to May 28th, though he still prefers the curve as his main offspeed pitch.

No doubt, this will be a big start for Nova.  Phil Hughes does not look like the pitcher he was last year, and if Nova makes a good impression tonight, he could be looked at as someone to take Hughes's rotation spot.

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