For those of you who have been keeping up with White Sox baseball these last several weeks, it may have come across your news feed the club acquired starting pitcher Ivan Nova from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Given, Nova is not exactly going to lead the South Siders to a World Series title on his own, or even be the number one starter in 2019. He should, however, be able to enhance an awful rotation this upcoming season. How much could he do just that? Let’s take a look and find out.
While the Sox had terrible starting pitching for the majority of 2018, they will head into ’19 with a pair of solid starters at the top of the rotation in Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon. Unfortunately neither of those two are elite hurlers at this point, meaning the South Siders could be overmatched in many contested this season. Nova is on the final year of his contract, which means he will be pitching for a big deal in 2020. Will that mean Nova goes deeper into games than last year?
Nova is a bit of an interesting case when you look at the distance he goes in games. He tossed 14 quality starts last year, which equates to 48.3% Yearly Quality Percentage (YQP). On the down side, Nova threw very few Magnum Starts in 2018, hurling only two of the aforementioned outings. That equals out to a Yearly Magnum Percentage (YMP) of 6.9%, or if you want to look deeper one out of seven quality starts qualify as Magnum Starts.
Speaking of Nova’s Magnum Starts, both of them fell under the Median Percentage Yearly (MPY) category under MY-Dot, due to the fact that they were eight innings each. Nova’s Yearly Magnum Total (YMT) was 11, and his Yearly Magnum Average (YMA) totaled out to 0.38. Neither would be anything to write home about, especially when you think about the fact that Nova showed the ability to throw six innings as much as he did.
So where does this leave us? Well, to put it mildly, Nova is not going to turn the rotation around by himself, but he could aid the Sox when you think about eating six innings fairly consistently. While five “quality starters” is not a way for a club to make the postseason in many instances, it is possible for them to allow the front end of the bullpen to get rest on most occasions. So he probably won’t help the Sox win the central, but could help out pick up a few extra wins here and there.
All in all, Nova may not be close to a dominant starter, but he is certainly an upgrade over what they had in 2018 if he performs close to his career norms. Don’t expect to see Clayton Kershaw-type numbers from Nova, or even Jose Quintana. However, he could be a solid No. three or four starter on the South Side. On top of that, Nova might bring something back in July if he performs well enough, so maybe another piece gets added to the system. At least we hope that is the result, Sox fans.
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