I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about Ivan Nova. We both think that he will have a good career, but the big question is how good. I think it is time for people to start talking about the 23 year old out of the Dominican Republic.
Nova was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Yankees back in 2004. In December of 2008, he was selected by the San Diego Padres as a Rule 5 draft pick. Nova would not stay with the Padres for long though. After spring training of 2009, Nova cleared outright waivers and was sent back to the Yankees where he pitched for their AAA affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. He would continue to play in Scranton in the 2009 season and ultimately began the 2010 season with the club. In May of 2010, Nova was promoted to the MLB Yankees and made his major league debut on May 10. Despite throwing 3 innings of shutout baseball out of the bullpen, he was sent back to Scranton. He was recalled on August 21. In this second trip to the majors, he made his first MLB start and went on to replace Javier Vazquez in the Yankees rotation. He finished the 2010 season with a record of 1-0, 4.11 ERA, and 23 strikeouts. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iv%C3%A1n_Nova
Nova throws a 4-seam fastball, changeup, and a curveball. His fastball averages at 94.4 MPH but has been clocked as high as 97.5 MPH. His changeup averages at 86.91 MPH and does not vary in velocity. (87.3 MPH is the hardest changeup he’s thrown) He throws a curveball, but struggles to find the strike zone with it at times. He throws it at an average speed of 82.4 MPH and is capable of throwing at a peak of 86.3 MPH. The fastball finds the strike zone 70.2% of the time as well as the changeup which finds the zone 62.5% of the time and the curve is a strike 33.3% of the time. Source: www.brooksbaseball.net
Okay, now that I have all that info out of the way, I can tell you my opinion on him. I love Ivan Nova. I believe that the Yankees have a great pitcher on their hands. In my opinion, he compares to Andy Pettitte in a lot of ways. Nova has a little trouble with finding the zone at times and could benefit from some good, “target practice,” if you will.
There is one problem though…. how long will he be a Yankee for? The Yankees are known for having great prospects and trading them. I have heard the Bronx Bombers linked to names such as Zach Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Prince Fielder. There is no doubt in my mind that Nova would be packaged if any of these players were traded to New York. The Brewers (Fielder) are looking for pitching and the Royals (Greinke and Soria) wouldn’t exactly refuse to take one more pitcher.
I can only hope that Joe Girardi doesn’t make the same mistake with Nova as he did with Joba. I would hate to see Nova on a strict 3-inning limit. That whole concept is ridiculous but that’s another story.
By the way, in Game 3 of the World Series, Texas is beating the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the 7th.