On a day after which the crosstown Mets lost their own young power arm in Zack Wheeler to Tommy John surgery, the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi continues to turn heads and impress in his first Yankee spring training.
Eovaldi has thrown nine innings thus far this spring, and has given up seven hits, but has just given up one run and hasn’t walked a batter. The Yankees haven’t had success developing their own power arms for the rotation in years so they have made trades for guys like Michael Pineda and Eovaldi. The hope is that Larry Rothschild can get a hold of a talented arm like Eovaldi and help him improve his game. For example, pitch elevation as he told MLB.com:
"“I take pride in trying to get better. You don’t want to stay the same,” Eovaldi said. “Being able to elevate the ball is one thing I struggled with last year. I’d throw it way too high. I’m able to get the ball up in the zone and then also keep it down, and then the offspeed pitches are there, too.”"
Yankees catcher Brian McCann has already seen the improvement in Eovaldi. Here’s what he told the NY Post:
"“Wins and losses are you know, but I have faced him before and he is a very uncomfortable at-bat,’’ said McCann, who is 1-for-8 with three strikeouts and two walks against Eovaldi. “The ball gets on you and you have to cheat to hit his fastball. That makes his off-speed that much better. You throw that hard and create that angle, you have to cheat on the fastball.’’"
Something that you will need to pay attention to is Eovaldi’s inning jump. In a rotation filled with injury questions, could we see an injury to Eovladi at some point down the road? Eovaldi threw 127 innings in 2013, and went up to 199 last season. If you believe in the Verducci effect, Eovaldi may just be out of the danger zone with his inning increase percentage, but he had the fourth highest increase of innings pitched in all of baseball.
Eovaldi is emerging right now, and an impressive watch. But keep an eye on his arm this year. Hopefully he doesn’t have the same fate as a cross town young power arm.
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