State of the Pittsburgh Pirates I: Jekyll and Hyde
Most Valuable Player: Ivan Nova
The Pirates pitching rotation is the main reason that this ball club is anywhere close to respectable. So it’s only natural to say that the staff ace is deserving of team MVP.
To state that the acquisition of Nova, who the Pirates picked up via a trade with the New York Yankees at the deadline last summer, has worked out well would be a gross understatement. Although his win-loss record does not show it (#killthewin), virtually every other statistical category backs up how good Nova has been. As of May 9, His 2.14 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 0.881 WHIP and, wait for it, 0.2 BB/9 rate all were tops among Pirates starting pitchers.
Perhaps the most glowing example of how good Nova has been throughout his time in the Steel City is the fact that, in 17 starts, he has thrown more complete games (5) than walks (4).
Although it would be a reach to expect him to sustain this success for four more months, there is no reason that Nova and Gerrit Cole can’t make up a dominant duo in Pittsburgh’s rotation. With the loss of Jameson Taillon, it becomes even more critical for Nova to perform well.
If Nova can pitch even close to the level he is at right now throughout the season, then that trade with the Yankees is set to go down as one of Neil Huntington’s best.