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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WHY THE SKY'S THE LIMIT FOR NOVA

As a die hard Yankee fan, I am so excited to see how our pitching rotation will shape up once Spring training gets underway now that we added potential "Ace" Michael Pineda and potential "secret weapon" Hiroki Kuroda. Here at Bleeding Yankee Blue we have written numerous pieces on the impact Pineda and Kuroda may have on the 2012 Yankees. We've also discussed what our starting five may look like and what it means for people like AJ Burnett, Freddy Garcia, and Phil Hughes. But there is one pitcher who I feel may be getting lost in the shuffle of all these discussions: Ivan Nova.

Ivan Nova potentially has the ability and now some experience under his belt to be that pitcher who goes out every five days and you just know will not only keep the Yankees in a game but dominate his opponent. Last season it seemed like Nova began to flourish in that role of being Mr. Consistency. I mentioned it several times last year how Ivan Nova reminds me so much of Andy Pettitte when he started his MLB career because like Pettitte, Nova pitches with so much heart, composure, and consistency. Even CC was up and down last season and, Lord only knows where Burnett's head was in 2011. But Nova was always so calm, cool, and collective the entire season and I think we can expect even bigger things in 2012. Lets take a look at Ivan Nova's 2011 season which was his first full year:

The 24-year-old right hander started 27 games and compiled an incredible 16-4 record. That's an astounding .800% winning percentage...just incredible! Nova threw 165.1 innings striking out 98 batters which averages to just over 5 strikeouts per 9 innings. Nova also had very good control only walking about 3 batters per 9 innings. Nova's had a regular season .ERA of 3.70, which is amazing for a rookie. I mean, there are dozens of pitchers in MLB who would kill for an .ERA under 4.00 and Nova did it in his first full season. Oh, and defensively, Nova had 37 chances and made 0 errors! Zero! Can you see now why I continue to compare Nova to the young Andy Pettitte? Here are how his numbers stacked up with the rest of the American League pitchers:
  • His 16 wins was tied for 4th in the AL
  • His .800 Win-Loss% was 2nd in the AL
  • His 0.708 Home Runs per 9 IP was 7th in the AL
  • His flawless fielding ranked him 1st in the AL

If I were a betting man (which I am not), but if I was, here's what I would bet on when it comes to Ivan Nova...Ivan Nova will not only improve on his rookie season but will turn out to be one of the top 5 pitchers in the AL in 2012. I think by the time late July/early August comes around the discussion among the Yankee fans will be why Nova deserves the CY Young. I really think it will be one of those seasons to remember for Ivan Nova. Not only in the regular season but post season: Just like another former Yankee pitcher you may have heard of...a guy by the name of Andy Pettitte.


--Mikey Blue, BYB Senior Writer
Email: DonnieBaseball2323@gmail.com
Twitter: @MikeyBlu23

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