Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Should We Believe In Ivan Nova

Thanks to Brooks Baseball, for the following information...

As good as Ivan Nova has been this year, I haven't been able to believe in him. Keep in mind that this is a guy that had an ERA of 3.70 in 2011, and then came back in 2012 and had an ERA of 5.02. And that poor pitching in 2012 carried over to March/April of this season, when Ivan's ERA of 6.48 forced the team to demote in to AAA to try and figure things out.

"I wonder if I can find a reason why Nova was good in 2011, bad in 2012, and good again in 2013."

So is that 2.48 ERA since his June 23rd start, his first start after being brought back up to the Majors, to be believed?

For starters, Ivan decided to ditch the slider. In 2012, from July through September, the slider was being hit for a line drive almost 38% of the time. So that seems to be a good decision.

In place of the slider, Nova has started to throw a sinker. And seeing as how that pitch has been hit for a line drive less than 30% of the time (since his return to the MLB rotation in June, that is), I'd say it was another good choice.

Besides ditching one pitch for another, let's take a look at the rest of Ivan Nova's repertoire...

Let's start with his fourseam fastball. The velocity of this pitch is pretty much unchanged. Last season it averaged 93.8 mph, while this season it's averaged 94.43 mph.

As for the movement of Nova's fastball, the differences are fairly minor as well. In 2012 it would move 5.38 inches, while in 2013 it's moving 4.51 inches. As for the vertical movement of the pitch, that's changed by a small amount too, going from 7.79 inches in 2012 to 8.28 inches in 2013.

There's a lot of muscle under that shirt sleeve.

Nova's changeup is a bit slower than last year, but nothing drastic. It averaged 87.05 mph in 2012, and 86.1 mph in 2013.

While the horizontal movement of the pitch is almost the same, from -8.20 inches in 2012 to -8.06 inches in 2013, the vertical movement has changed quite a bit. In 2012 Nova's changeup would rise 6.79 inches, but in 2013 it's only risen 5.55 inches.

When it comes to velocity, Nova's curveball is pretty much unchanged as well. Last season Ivan threw it 81.14 mph, while it's averaged 81.68 mph this season.

But the movement of the curveball is what's key, and that's where we find another real difference. It's not so much in the horizontal movement, which has gone from 5.21 inches in 2012 to just 5.00 inches in 2013, though. The difference is really seen in the vertical movement of Nova's curve. In that case it's gone from moving -6.59 inches to only -5.08 inches.

So to recap, what has changed?

  1. Nova's changeup isn't moving as much vertically, which has allowed him to control it better.
  2. Ivan is able to control his curveball a bit better, too, as it isn't moving as much vertically.

Those changes, along with adding a good sinker ball, has made Ivan Nova a better pitcher, and one we should be able to depend on to hold down teh #3 spot in the starting rotation.

"Yes, I've changed my underwear since 2012 as well."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)