Yankees: 8 players unable to live up to the hype
By Ryan Doyle
P Ivan Nova (2010-2016)
Ivan Nova was tremendous in his rookie season. He went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA, proving to be a stabilizing force to a Yankees team desperate for youth. At just 24, Nova’s otherworldly rookie season made many fans think the team struck gold.
Remember, at the start of the last decade, the Yankees constantly struggled to find suitable pitching. The flops of free agents like A.J. Burnett and homegrown talents unable to succeed in the rotation such as Phil Hughes made Nova’s success extremely exciting at the time.
Perhaps the expectations were too high for Nova but Yankees fans will mostly look back at his time in pinstripes as a disappointment.
Nova came back down to earth in 2012 with an ERA over five in 28 starts but his season didn’t start to turn bad until after he made comments about his place among the league’s best hurlers.
“If you ask me, ‘Who’s the best pitcher in the world?” Nova said, “I say, ‘Me.’ You know, you have to believe it. That’s why you win so many games.”
Now, can you blame Nova for thinking that? Not at all. After all, what is he supposed to say?
Fair or not, Nova’s comments were when his Yankees tenure started to take a bad turn. He did bounce back for a strong 2013 season but he underwent Tommy John surgery the next year.
Following the surgery, Nova was never able to reach the peak he had earlier in his career. In the great purge of talent at the 2016 trade deadline, he was shipped to Pittsburgh.