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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Davidoff: Ivan Nova’s pitch quality, pitch selection and bad luck

Hey, when you’re throwing a Hochevariant out there every fifth day…what do you expect?

I find Nova to be particularly interesting, since he has been one that even the Yankees have struggled to peg. For sure, they didn’t anticipate that he’d help as much as he did last year, and for sure, they were arming themselves mentally for some regression this season.

Nova’s 2012 hasn’t been a simple regression, however. In trying to nail down what has occurred with him this season, he’s all over the map.

...So what to make of all this? Nova clearly was better off when he was pitching to contact and trying to get groundballs. The increase of command hasn’t paid off at all because of what has accompanied it.

That said, if Nova kept pitching exactly the same way, the luck of the draw should keep more of those flyballs in the park, and more of his line drives should find gloves.

As usual, the truth is not as extreme as it seems; this year isn’t as horrible as it appears for Nova, nor was last year as wonderful. Yet there’s clearly some information in this statistical profile that Nova and the Yankees can use to climb out of the right-hander’s current funk.

Repoz Posted: August 07, 2012 at 01:50 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4202447)
it's a season that looks worse because they lost Pineda for the year, Pettitte for six or so weeks, Garcia's been lousy, CC missed a couple starts, and the pen's health hasn't been much better -- Mo, Robertson for a month, and Joba. As a 5 he wouldn't look so bad.
   2. Dan Posted: August 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4202456)
This year isn't as horrible as it appears? Opponents are slugging .515 against him! Austin Jackson is 15th in the AL in SLG with a .515 mark. The average hitter against him hits for as much power as a top 15 slugger in the league! He's been incredibly lucky to have scattered all the XBH enough to keep his ERA under 5.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: August 07, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4202747)
He's been incredibly lucky to have scattered all the XBH enough to keep his ERA under 5.
It's certainly true that his OBP/SLG "should" result in more runs; whether that's "lucky" is less clear.

.348 OBP * .515 SLG * 549 AB against = an expected 98 runs allowed by super-simple runs created, yet Nova has allowed "only" 79. So it seems fair to say something is going on.

Getting a little deeper, Nova's overall line against is 291/348/515. That breaks down to 310/376/572 with no one on, and 267/312/444 with men on base. With runners in scoring position, he's been positively good, at 228/290/362.

Now Davidoff says:
His strand rate is virtually identical to last year’s, from 73.2 percent up to 73.7 percent.
But the thing is that Nova basically had the same trends last year too, pitching better the more trouble he was in. 258/322/384 overall; 267/331/435 with no one on; 244/309/310 with men on; 215/287/285 with men in scoring position.

He has 6 SB allowed and 17 GIDP, which both sound pretty good, so that probably helps. Beyond that, could be luck, could be clutchiness and/or a style of pitching... I bet it's a little of both.

(The "bad luck" referred to in the headline appears to be the jump in his HR/FB. That is a different story; I'm taking his BA/OBP/SLG as givens. Does seem like a fair point, though.)
   4. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 07, 2012 at 08:00 PM (#4202760)
He's striking out 8.1 per 9 and only walking 2.8, he's obviously going to be useful in the future with those numbers. It doesn't appear that new Yankee is his friend, a 6.16 ERA and .363/.569 line at home this year. It seems like that little league wall in right would be a problem for any Yankees right handed starter that isn't a ground ball machine as other teams stack their lineups with lefties. Freddy Garcia has been crushed by New Yankee as well this year. Nova wasn't as bad at home last year but his ratios suggest he was a different pitcher last year.

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