Oh man, we’re back baby! I just wet my pants a little bit.
The first Pitcher Profile is here! I haven’t been this nervous since Grey had me wax his mustache my first day as an intern.
So if you’re new to Pitcher Profiles, where ya been?! Well glad to have you, and below is a gargantuan post that I think will break your browser. But hey! It’s your one-stop shop (cliche boner) for all pitching questions, rankings, and GIFfing. I just learned how to GIF, and man, it’s sorta close to learning how to Dougie except less people point and laugh at you (hopefully – but that’d be a bad GIF!).
As always, I tend to select my profiling on a pitcher who is widely available in most 10 and 12ers for owners to gauge their pickup or streaming interest. I know these was a hope for a Taylor Jordan (sorry Long Beach!) profile, but I wanted to go for a guy who I think can have a bigger impact. A guy that “Oh my god throws a fire! Sale.”
We’ve all heard about Nathan Eovaldi‘s stuff. Huge velocity – the fastest heater in baseball for a starter – but it’s been a while since I’ve really broken down one of his starts. Plus his name sounds like an Italian deity of fornication. Now with two solid, you could even say “quality”, starts under his belt (plus he’s still only 24 even though it feels like he’s been around for a while) I decided to tune into his game against the lowly Padres and see if the hurler from Crayola Canyon deserves more love:
First Inning: Big Nate’s first pitch is a 96 MPH fastball dotting the lower outside corner to Everth Cabrera, strike one. Hits the same spot at 97, and Everth hops around angry at the call. Roid rage! Umpire Phil Cuzzi yells back at a barking Bud Black that that pitch will be called for their guy too. Kinda sweet you could hear that exchange. Then Eovaldi stays outside but climbs the ladder about a foot-and-a-half higher at 96 for a K swinging. Cabrera was overmatched there. 95 MPH fastball to Seth Smith is hit hard, but caught by Giancarlo Stanton right on the front of the track, two down. Probably an out in most ballparks, but might’ve been more trouble. Maybe gone in Fenway. Why you like your Marlins! Eovaldi starts Chase Headley with a strike on the outside corner, then 97 MPH fastball in on the hands and low that’s fouled off, then his first slider at 88 (!) bends too far in, 1-2. Eovaldi paints the inside corner at 97 that looked like strike three, no call, and back to the slider at 89 isn’t as sharp and Headley weakly grounds it between first and second for a single. Wasn’t good contact, but also not quite the pitch he wanted. Just outside to Jedd Gyorko, then in there 1-1, outside again with the heater and another out there is fouled off, 2-2. Eovaldi elevates the fastball getting it to 97 and Gyorko strikes out swinging to end the inning.
Second Inning: A 95 MPH fastball misses to Yonder Alonso, then another heater with good sink gets a lazy pop fly, one down. Will Venable takes a 96 MPH strike, then a nasty slider at 88 is taken, 1-1. Another slider with a little less break is tapped weakly right to the mound, and Eovaldi makes the easy play for a second quick out. Eovaldi misses twice to Tommy Medica, gets it to 98 on the inside corner for a foul out of play, another fouled off, again fouled off still 2-2, then a great slider gets a very weakly hit ball right to second, and Derek Dietrich could not have messed up an easier play and boots it. So runner on first with two outs, and Dietrich lets out an awesome F-Bomb that you can lip read when the broadcast cuts to him. 96 MPH to Yasmani Grandal fouled back, then a slider is tapped weakly and barely past Dietrich for a single. Weak one there which brings up Ian Kennedy who takes strike one, takes another, then a solid slider gets Kennedy to wave and miss, and Eovaldi loves he’s pitching in the NL to easily get out of the inning with a three pitch K.
Third Inning: Eovaldi misses outside, then Cabrera hits a 95 MPH baseball to center for the out, one down. Doing fine with his pitch count at 32, Eovaldi dots that low outside corner again at 96 to Smith, then another heater is grounded just out of the reach of Dietrich for a single. Three singles now, and all ground balls not hit that well. Eovaldi starts off speed with the slider to Headley, and man if he can start counts with the back door slider for a strike, he’s going to be fantastic this year.
Then back to the fastball which gets a tailor made double play ball to first, and on the throw back to first, Eovaldi’s foot is off the base. So he could’ve been out of the inning there, but bears down with two outs and throws a slider low to Gyorko, then a nice slider at 86 gets a swing-and-miss, 1-1. Back to the fastball, and Gyorko grounds out weakly to short, inning over.
Fourth Inning: Still scoreless, Eovaldi bends a curveball in there for strike one at 75 MPH, and yet another pitch he can add to his arsenal to get ahead. Then low with the fastball, low again with the slider, 2-1 on Alonso. Again inside, then a fastball outside gets a foul to fill up the count. Fastball fouled off, slider fouled off, 7 pitch at bat now. He goes backdoor slider and Alonso hits it off the end of the bat for a lazy flyout. Venable tries a bunt that goes foul, then another curveball that backdoors for a strike, quickly 0-2. Fastball fouled off, then a very lazy flare out to short on the slider, two down. A fastball gets strike one on Medica, one is fouled off, and another 0-2 count. Then he paints the outside corner at 98 for a K looking, great inning.
Fifth Inning: Finally with a run of support, Eovaldi gets two fast strikes on Grandal, then a slider gets a lazy flyout, quick first out. Another two strikes with fastballs to Kennedy for back-to-back 0-2 counts, and Kennedy watches a 96 MPH fastball go by for strike 3. Kennedy is two of Eovaldi’s five Ks – but on only six pitches! Cabrera swings and misses, then Eovaldi paints the inside corner, and again paints and a K looking. The knock your panties off nine pitch, all strikes inning with two Ks looked as good as it sounds.
Sixth Inning: Slider is low to Smith, then another slider is lower and hits Smith on the foot. “Your ball struck my foot!” Headley fouls the first one off, Eovaldi misses, then a slider gets a huge swing-and-miss and Headley hurt himself. Always the mark of a good pitch! Headley walks it off, fouls one, then takes a ball, 2-2. Headley then hits a grounder to first, and the Marlins turn a double play. Woooo, I’m all about some DP! Ahem, anyway Gyorko fouls one back, Eovaldi misses outside then in there with fastballs, 1-2. Another is fouled back, he rolls a slider too far outside, then another slider gets a defensive swing-and-miss and it’s up to 7 Ks – inning over.
Seventh Inning: A curve gets the outside corner on Alonso, then one fouled back, yet another 0-2 count. A nasty, and I mean nasty 75 MPH curveball gets a swing-and-miss, one down.
Eovaldi hits the zone, then gets a foul back – and sorry to be a broken record – but man, another 0-2 count on Venable. Another fouled off then a slider high, 1-2. A 96 MPH fastball gets a super defensive flick of the bat and it’s hit so slow to 2B that Venable gets an infield single. All four hits allowed have been ground ball singles. Tough luck, really could be a no-no going. Slider is low to Medica, then a fastball is lined just past short for another single. That was a legit hit – easily the best hit ball of the game. Runners on first and second, and Eovaldi misses twice, then a slider too far inside, 3-0. Haven’t seen him get behind like this and out comes pitching coach Chuck Hernandez for a powwow. A 95 MPH fastball and the green light was on for Alonso and it’s off Eovaldi’s foot and he gets the out. Alonso must’ve been dead red fastball, so it’s two down. Up is Alexi Amarista to pinch-hit for Kennedy and he fouls a slider off, 0-1. 97 MPH fastball is fouled off, 0-2, slider is inside, 97 MPH fouled off, slider fouled off weakly, and yet another fastball fouled off, still 1-2. Fastball on the hands at 96 fouled off, curveball stays outside, then a slider at 84 MPH that wasn’t even a terrible pitch bending low and inside gets a golf swing for a 3-run shot.
Dude, credit Amarista for that at-bat, fouling so many off before locking in on that one. First pitch to Cabrera gets a lazy ground ball, and Eovaldi’s day is over.
Final Line: 7 IP 102 Pitches (75 Strikes) 3 ER 6 Hits 0 Walks 8 K Gamescore: 61 Gamescore+: 64.8
Final Analysis: An utter dominant start, regardless of the stadium or opposing team. Eovaldi was pounding the zone all game, rarely getting into three ball counts. That fifth inning was fantastic. As you’d expect with a lot of Ks and no walks, his Gamescore+ outperformed his Gamescore. Plus four of the six hits were very weakly hit singles, so it easily could’ve only been a 2-hit game.
Mixing that power fastball from 95-98 with mainly a slider, Eovaldi also threw a few curveballs and has a change-up that he sprinkles in occasionally as well (I didn’t notice any this start). Eovaldi didn’t issue a walk in this outing, and now owns a 14:1 K:BB to start the year. I think his secondary stuff has come far enough along that the K rate is going to be pretty sustainable, plus will gets pitchers to strike out being in the NL and the great park.
In my main league, I dropped Tyson Ross for Eovaldi (reflected in my rankings as well). I watched a good amount of Ross’ first start, and his mechanics looked a little weird and his release point was mightily inconsistent. Eovaldi maintained the same mechanics the whole start, maintained the velocity (Ross was a little down in velocity from last year and was all over the place in his start), and sorta got unlucky in my opinion on that homer. I know that’s a tough argument since it’s in the Canyon, but you can judge for yourself on the GIF. In 12ers I think he absolutely should be scooped up, in 10ers it depends on your staff.
JB’s Top 100 SP
(rankings based on 12-team Roto – green for risers, red for fallers)
Dropped Out: Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals (bullpen), Josh Johnson, San Diego Padres (injury), Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers (bullpen), Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore Orioles (was #100 and started rough), Randall Delgado, Arizona Diamondbacks (I regret ranking him), Ricky Nolasco, Minnesota Twins (regret it even more)
- Kershaw moves down a few spots just due to volume loss. I still think on a per game basis, he’ll probably be the best pitcher in the land.
- Michael Wacha looked absolutely incredible. I had him as one of my main sleepers, ranked him very high, and now pushing it all-in. Conversely, Shelby Miller was not sharp. A little worried there.
- James Paxton is the man. I’m very interested to see how he does going against the Angels again for his second start. We’ll see how their big boppers adjust. But counting his last start of 2013, his last two are 14 IP 19 Ks 6 H 2 BB 0 ER. After the Angels it’s at Texas. Major tests there, and if he scuffles a bit, I think a good buy low.
- Jenrry Mejia I thought looked good as well. Pitching through light rain, he did struggle a bit with his off-speed command, but it was very wet and cold out there. Sure it may have hurt the Reds hitters as well, but I like the upside.
Feel free to chime in with any thoughts on Eovaldi or the rankings, and glad to be back in business! Have a good week Razzball Nation!