Prior to Monday’s 4pm non-waiver trading deadline, Pittsburgh Pirates acquired right-handed starting pitcher Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees.
Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed starting pitcher Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees. The Pirates desperately needed starting rotation help, but Ivan Nova is not that. Ivan Nova is, in fact, terrible.
This is just the latest in what has been a long list of frustrating, mind boggling roster moves by the Pirates in recent weeks. The 29 year old Nova has a lifetime 4.41 ERA and 4.40 FIP. Ivan Nova is nothing but a right-handed Jeff Locke. In return for Ivan Nova, the Pirates are sending the Yankees the always popular player to be named later.
Also, Ivan Nova is a rental player. Nova will be a free agent at the end of the season. Then again, if Ivan Nova pitches the way I am expecting him to this will probably be a good thing. However, I was really hopefully Neal Huntington would add a controllable starting pitcher at the trade deadline.
This season has not gone well for Ivan Nova. He has made 15 starts, 21 appearances, for the Yankees and has pitched 97 1/3 innings. In those 97 1/3 innings pitched he is averaging 6.93 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, an alarming 1.76 HR/9, and he has a 1.36 WHIP. Nova’s ERA is 4.90, and his 5.08 FIP indicates he has pitched even worse than his 4.90 ERA would lead you to believe. Nova does however have a strong ground ball rate of 54.3 percent.
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I dislike this trade for a lot of reasons. First off, Ivan Nova is not an upgrade. Nova has pitched worse than Jeff Locke this season, and I’d rather just see Jeff Locke make starts over Ivan Nova. Secondly, all having Ivan Nova in the rotation will do is continue to block young starters Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams.
Kuhl and Brault have both shown flashes of good things in the Major Leagues this season, while Trevor Williams has been fantastic at Triple-A. I do not see why the Pirates would not just start these guy and see what they have over pitchers like Ivan Nova and Ryan Vogelsong. The young arms can not be worse than pitchers like Nova and Vogelsong have been this season, and they might be able to prove they can help the Pirates next season.
This season Ivan Nova is allowing a 35.6 percent hard contact rate, which is the second highest of his Major League career. Also, his fastball is averaging a career low 92.4 miles per hour. Nova throws said fastball 66.4 percent of the time, his curveball 27.1 percent of the time, hist cut fastball 4.1 percent of the time, and his change up 2.4 percent of the time. So, Nova is primarily a fastball-curveball pitcher.
Ivan Nova is terrible. Unlike when the Pirates acquired J.A. Happ at the trade deadline last year, there is not a whole lot of optimism around Nova. Happ at least had good peripherals and good stuff from the left side. Ivan Nova stealing starts away from guys like Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams has no business happening, but, unfortunately, it will.