I Heart Ivan Nova
Entering the 2011 season, I was all about Indians Justin Masterson. My heart was aflutter after trading for or signing him in every league I played in. For one magical season, Masterson excelled and I reaped the rewards. Of course this newsletter didn’t exist then, so only my closest fantasy baseball confidants shared the spoils of the right-handers success.
Then, Masterson fell back to earth and I was left holding the bag. Too bad, so sad, but at least I have 2011 to reflect on.
Heading into 2013, Ivan Nova is my new Justin Masterson. Want proof? I wound up being stuck with Masterson for a dollar in the Experts League Auction and dumped him for my irrational infatuation with Anthony Gose.
The baseball world is talking about the potential breakouts coming from Porcello and Braves Julio Teheran. This has inflated their value in fantasy circles.
Meanwhile, the 26-year old Nova has had a solid spring. After a 2012 with poor surface numbers, but strong peripherals, I’m expecting this year to be a breakout campaign for the right-hander.
For me, the sweet spot for identifying pitchers with no downside is simple.
< 3 BB/9
This is a recipe for automatic success. Names of pitchers who met this criteria in 2012 include David Price, A.J. Burnett, James Shields and Adam Wainwright. Plus, pretty much every pitcher who came reasonably close performed well too.
As for Ivan Nova, he was on the mark for strikeouts and walks, but fell 4.8% short of a 50% ground ball total. Is it reasonable to see Nova’s ground ball rate move north in 2013? I think so considering he managed a 52.7% GB% in 2011. Of course this may be offset by a lower strikeout rate, but he has a bit of wiggle room to maneuver. Plus, his age and experience point to the possibility of additional growth as a pitcher.
Plus, he posted a crazy home run rate of 16.6% which is fluky considering his being a sinker/slider pitcher.
If Nova is on your waiver wire, take a shot on him before opening day. I already have.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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