Ivan Nova Pitching Well Benefits The Pittsburgh Pirates In More Ways Than One


Since coming off the disabled list Ivan Nova has been tremendous for the Pittsburgh Pirates and this benefits the team in more ways than one

Veteran righty Ivan Nova has made three starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates since returning from the disabled list. Nova has looked like the pitcher that he was in August and September of 2016 and April 2017 for the Pirates. He has been efficient, he’s pounded the strike zone, and he has worked quickly. Most importantly, he has pitched well.

Nova pitching well has benefitted the team in more ways than one. Obviously, Nova pitching well makes the team better. The Pirates are 2-1 in his three starts since returning from his sprained finger, and last night’s loss was not due to Nova as he pitched eight scoreless innings.

On top of making the team better, Nova pitching well also raises his trade value. And by raising his trade value he adds the ability to benefit the team in July.

The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is just over a month away and the Pirates appear to be on their way to being sellers. After losing three in a row, and 22 of 32, the Bucs are now 36-39, nine games out of first place in the National League Central, and five games out of a National League Wild Card spot. Barring some big turnaround, the Pirates will not be competing for a postseason berth this season.

Overall this season Nova owns a 3.98 ERA, 3.86 FIP, he has struck out 19.2% of batters faced, and walked just 4.4% in 81 1/3 innings pitched (14 starts). His past three starts, however, have been brilliant.

Since returning from the disabled list Nova has pitched 19 2/3 innings in three starts. He has allowed just two earned runs on 12 hits, one home run, he has walked five, and struck out 19. While Nova has never been a top of the rotation starting pitcher and never will be, he is currently pitching like a starting pitcher that can help a contending team and net the Pirates a strong return in a trade.

The biggest differences for Nova is that he is allowing a less hard contact, generating more soft contact, and he is striking out more batters.

 Soft Contact RateHard Contact RateStrikeout Rate

As you can check out here, Nova has also had a more consistent release point since returning from the DL. Now that his finger is healthy, it appears Nova has redsicovered a consistent release point which will also lead to success.

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If Nova is healthy and pitching well there will be few starting pitchers available at the trade deadline that will carry more value than Nova. He is a proven veteran, he has pitched in the postseason, and he comes with an additional year of control. Trading Nova would also open up a rotation spot for Nick Kingham, without having to remove another young starting pitcher from the rotation.

Contending teams can get desperate at the trade deadline, especially when it comes to adding starting pitching help. Factor in Nova also having a year of control left on his contract and, if he continues to pitch well, a team just may overpay the Pirates for Nova in a few weeks.