In December 2014 Brian Cashman acquired Nathan Eovaldi from the Marlins and the move was greeted with mixed reviews by the Yankee faithful. Some were upset about losing the then 31 year-old Martin Prado while others didn’t like Eovaldi and the fact that he led the NL in hits allowed in 2014.
What I saw, however, was the Yankees acquiring a live, young arm with Major League experience. I voiced my opinion about what I thought about the trade and the upside that Eovaldi brought to the club. He had his moments in 2015 and after an offseason with the Yankees and a year more experience, could Nathan Eovaldi be the ace of the staff?
ESPN published a piece by Eno Sarris the other day, ‘Four pitchers who could follow Dallas Keuchel’s lead and someday turn into aces’ and he listed Eovaldi as a possibility to turn into an ace. I don’t think I believed he could become an ‘ace’ last winter, and not sure I do now, but it does give me a bit of hope!
Eovaldi has been working on this splitter, to add to his triple digit heater and slider, and as Harris points out, after he started throwing the split mid season his strikeout percentage increased by 4%. He was a pure thrower with just a hard fastball and slider and needed to develop a third pitch to get through a lineup three times.
He needs to work on his control, not only with walking batters, but also his control in the zone. Big Leaguers hit mistakes, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw it sometimes! His WHIP was 1.45 so that’s going to have to get better if he ever wants to be move up the rotation ladder.
But I like the makeup he brings to the table and some great pitchers who could hit 100 MPH, throw a good slider and a splitter/change up, have had successful careers. Plus he is still young and learning how to pitch.
I’m not saying Nate will or will not be a front of the rotation guy. But I can tell you if I had a guy with his abilities I’d take my chance on him any day (and the Yankees acquired him for a good utility guy essentially).
But with Luis Severino, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka joining Eovaldi as the likely top four starters, I could see any of these guys having a dominate year. The Yankees rotation, if it stays healthy and lives up to the high expectations, could be a force to be reckoned with. Or the opposite.
I don’t know if Nathan Eovaldi will be an ace. I hope so! And I hope Luis Severino does and Michael Pineda pitches like he did his rookie year. Plus a World Series Championship of course!
Hey, I’m a glass half full kind of guy.
BYB Senior Writer