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Posts Tagged ‘Ivan Nova’

Correction: Although listed as a rookie by several sources, including fangraphs.com, Alexi Ogando is not eligible for the award because the service time he accrued in 2010. As a result, all references to him as a contender for the award are invalid, which makes Nova’s candidacy all the more stronger.

For much of the season, most of the award-related speculation surrounding the Yankees has centered upon CC Sabathia’s pursuit of a second Cy Young and Curtis Granderson’s candidacy for MVP. However, without much fanfare, Ivan Nova has emerged as a dark horse candidate in the Rookie of the Year race.

Will Ivan Nova be tipping his cap when the ROY award is announced? (Photo: NY Daily News)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Nova’s 14-4 season has gone relatively unnoticed. After all, back in July, he was demoted to the minors in favor of two struggling pitchers (AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes), so if the Yankees’ brass was slow to realize his contribution, it’s easy to why everyelse has been. Nonetheless, since returning from his stint in triple-A, the 24-year old right hander has won six consecutive victories (seven including a start before his demotion, besting Vic Raschi’s single-season franchise rookie record) to go along with a 3.60 ERA. As a result, Nova has emerged as the Yankees’ most reliable starter during a turbulent August that has seen the rest of the rotation struggle significantly.

Although Nova’s rookie-leading 14 wins are sure to garner votes from the more traditional voting bloc, his candidacy remains an uphill climb. Not only does he rank fourth in average WAR among AL rookie pitchers, but three position players also rate ahead. Granted, most of the beat writers casting a ballot do not necessarily consult sabermetrics, but the combination of underlying statistics and name value still make the rest of the field formidable competition. In particular, Mark Trumbo’s 23 HRs and 71 RBIs could counter the “face value” of Nova’s 14 wins, while the more heralded Desmond Jennings, Michael Pineda and Jeremy Hellickson could have a built-in recognition advantage.

Top-10 Rookies, Ranked by Average WAR (Position Player and Pitchers)

Position Player Team PO fWAR bWAR aWAR PA AVG OBP SLG
Desmond Jennings TBR LF 2.3 2.4 2.4 153 0.354 0.440 0.646
Dustin Ackley SEA 2B 2.2 2 2.1 256 0.282 0.359 0.445
Mark Trumbo LAA 1B 2 1.9 2.0 472 0.256 0.294 0.475
Josh Reddick BOS RF 1.8 1.5 1.7 211 0.282 0.332 0.471
Casper Wells SEA OF 1.5 1.4 1.5 206 0.258 0.327 0.473
Brett Lawrie TOR 3B 1.5 1.2 1.4 82 0.338 0.378 0.688
Mike Carp SEA 1B 1.1 1.1 1.1 194 0.292 0.351 0.472
Ben Revere MIN CF 1.6 0.4 1.0 361 0.255 0.301 0.294
Jemile Weeks OAK 2B 1.2 0.7 1.0 314 0.295 0.330 0.408
J.P. Arencibia TOR C 1.1 0.7 0.9 393 0.212 0.275 0.437
Pitcher Team PO fWAR bWAR aWAR IP W L ERA
Alexi Ogando TEX SP 2.8 3.3 3.1 151.1 12 6 3.57
Michael Pineda SEA SP 2.9 2.5 2.7 153 9 8 3.71
Jeremy Hellickson TBR SP 1.6 2.7 2.2 149.1 11 9 3.01
Ivan Nova NYY SP 1.9 1.9 1.9 131.2 14 4 3.96
Jordan Walden* LAA RP 1.8 1.7 1.8 50 4 3 2.70
Greg Holland KCR RP 1.5 1.9 1.7 49.1 3 1 1.82
Zach Britton BAL SP 2.1 1.1 1.6 122 8 9 4.28
Chris Sale CHW RP 1 1.9 1.5 58.2 2 1 2.61
Vinnie Pestano CLE RP 1.2 1.7 1.5 51.2 1 1 2.44
Aaron Crow KCR RP 0.5 2.3 1.4 56.2 3 3 2.38

*Jordan Walden currently has 26 saves.
Note: AvgWAR = (bWAR + fWAR)/2
Source: Baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

The Yankees rounded out their rotation this morning by naming Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia as the team’s fourth and fifth starters, respectively. It was also announced that Bartolo Colon would serves as a swing man in the bullpen, similar to the role Alfredo Aceves performed when healthy over the past three seasons.

Is Ivan Nova ready for the bright lights of being a major league starter?

Although the spring battle for the rotation was billed as an open competition, the decision to go with Garcia over Colon wasn’t really surprising. Heading into camp, it seemed as if the Yankees preferred Nova and Garcia in the rotation, so it wouldn’t have made much sense to change plans based on 15 exhibition innings. As previously noted, however, the Yankees rotation will remain very fluid throughout the year, so by no means are these assignments set in stone, especially with Kevin Millwood now in the fold.

During March, a lot of attention was paid to the Yankees’ cavalcade of veteran starters, which collectively resembled more of an Old Timer’s Day All Star team than an opening day roster, but the real story that emerged from camp was the performance of Ivan Nova.  In addition to posting a 1.80 ERA in 20 spring innings, Nova also impressed observers by quickly learning how to throw a new pitch. Under the tutelage of Billy Connors last October, Nova adjusted the grip on his slider, effectively turning the pitch into a cutter.

During the spring, Nova used his new pitch to great effect, but it remains to be seen if he’ll enjoy the same amount of success once the games start to count. Combined with his already impressive fastball, above average curve and functional changeup, however, the addition of cutter makes Nova a much more dynamic pitcher, and perhaps one worthy of lofty expectation. After all, Connors has a pretty good track record teaching the cutter. Just ask Greg Maddux and Andy Pettitte.

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