For all the talk about the Yankees’ inability to develop starting pitching over the last decade or so, they churned out a pretty good one in 2011. After a 42 IP cameo in 2010, Ivan Nova was handed a rotation spot in Spring Training last year and wound up being the team’s second best starter. He took his brief demotion to Triple-A like a champ and came back a better pitcher, finishing the year with a shiny 3.70 ERA and 4.01 FIP in 165.1 IP. His peripheral stats improved as the season went on as well.
Nova turns 25 years old today, making him the third youngest player on the projected Opening Day roster behind only Eduardo Nunez and Jesus Montero. Age is just a number though, and he’s arguably one of the five most important players on the team at the moment. If he continues to get some strikeouts with that improved slider and maintains his ground ball rate, the Yankees are going to have one hell of a cheap arm on their hands for the next five years.
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Here is your open thread for this chilly evening in New York. The Rangers, Islanders, and Knicks are playing, so non-Time Warner customers can enjoy that. If you’re still without MSG like me, tough luck. Talk about whatever you like here, the thread is yours.