Ivan Nova has always been an interesting prospect to me. He’s usually received glowing reports from scouts, but his numbers generally haven’t been there in the minors and his peripherals, like walk rate and strikeout rate, haven’t really been there either.
In his defense, like I said, he does get good scouting reports, he’s a big guy at 6’4″, he throws hard in the mid-90’s, and has been on the younger side at each level he has pitched.
The reason for his good scouting reports is the velocity of his fastball and the action on his breaking pitches. The reason for his relatively poor numbers is probably a lack of command. Like yesterday, he didn’t walk any batters (he had 59 walks in 139.1 innings last season), but he wasn’t exactly spotting his pitches on the corners either. He was kind of all over the strike zone.
He was generally sitting at 93-94 with his fastball, getting up to 95 mph a couple of times. His curveball was impressive and his changeup maybe even more impressive. I think right there is reason enough to think this kid at least has the potential to pitch in a major league bullepen, but I’d like him to lower his walk rate and improve his strikeout totals. With breaking stuff like that it doesn’t seem like that’s an impossible task either.
At the end of the game I am really left wanting more, which is a good thing. So far I’ve only really seen him pitch twice, yesterday and once on the final day of spring training, but so far I think he’s a promising work in progress – certainly not DFA material.