Nathan Eovaldi Key Piece In Hanley Ramirez Trade

As the key piece received by Miami in the Hanley Ramirez trade, Nathan Eovaldi ranks as one of the better pitching prospects I’ve scouted during the past couple of seasons. And while his fastball/slider combination has not translated into numbers which stand out from a statistical standpoint, the core components are there for the former Dodgers product to emerge as a quality mid-rotation starter at the big league level.

In 2011, I posted a number of notes on Eovaldi on my former site:

Excellent size; Eovaldi looked closer to 210 lbs. than his listed weight of 195

Well-proportioned frame; Size through the quads and shoulders; Athletic pitcher’s frame

Fluid delivery with good pacing; Generates easy velocity

High 3/4 arm slot; Limits movement on his fastball

94-96 MPH 4-seam fastball

4-seamer lacked movement; Worked pitch in-and-out effectively

Maintained velocity throughout the start; Still touching 95 MPH in the 5th

91-92 MPH 2-seam fastball; Some arm side run

84 MPH slider; Best breaking ball; Used as out pitch

Pitch featured late cut; Depth improved throughout the course of the game

78 MPH curveball; Threw sparingly; One CB was thrown behind RHH to backstop; Below average offering

83-84 MPH Changeup; Threw sparingly; Slowed arm action

In 2012, his velocity was up to 98 MPH in short spurts and his average fastball velocity has been 94.5 MPH at the major league level as a starter. Pair this with a mid-80’s slider and Eovaldi profiles as a classic power pitcher. However, little has changed in terms of a third pitch he can utilize as both his changeup and curveball are used less than 11% of the time — combined.

The Dodgers were working with him on developing quality third offering while in Chattanooga. At a time when Eovaldi was doing the up-and-down shuffle from Double-A to Los Angeles, he gave the following quote to the Time Free Press. “We’ve been doing a lot of work in the bullpen between games… I’ve just been struggling, and I’m trying to work on my curveball and changeup, specifically.”

In some respects, his arsenal resembles that of a young Ryan Dempster during his time with the Florida Marlins which is ironic considering Eovaldi now finds himself a member of ‘The Fish”. And while a comparison to the Dempster of today would be a high compliment, a time existed when the right-hander was just a fastball/slider guy without a defined role at the major league level. He’s not an elite pitching prospect, but he has the ability to turn into a quality starter if things break right.



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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


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Dave Cokin
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

There is no key piece in this trade. It’s just the same old Loria song. Slash payroll, pocket the dollars and stay mediocre. This guy has been awful for the game for years and that will never change.

Austin Brancheau
Guest
Austin Brancheau
3 years 10 months ago

Dave Cokin can predict the future!

Bigmouth
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

All of this has happened before… and all of this will happen again.

Alex
Guest
Alex
3 years 10 months ago

No doubt. Talk about a team begging for a new stadium, a better fanbase, and then they pack the season in by the trade deadline.

John
Guest
John
3 years 10 months ago

Simply a salary dump. Marlins probably can’t make payroll.

Ben
Member
Ben
3 years 9 months ago

They’re paying his salary…

Preston
Guest
Preston
3 years 10 months ago

I like Evoldi, but it’s hard to imagine the Marlins couldn’t have gotten more. It seems that the biggest motivating factor behind this trade was that the Dodgers would eat the entire salary. Which is a little disheartening since this was supposed to be the new Marlins. Maybe if they were willing to eat a little money they could have brought back Zach Lee instead of Evoldi.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
3 years 10 months ago

I like Eovaldi too. Reminds me a bit of the Jays’ young Henderson Alvarez. Lots of heat on the fastball, one good off speed pitch, and working on a 3rd. Eovaldi’s good slider is a better K pitch than Alvarez’ good change, but Alvarez has better control than Eovaldi and his moving 2 seamer is a little more dangerous. I like Alvarez better and think Eovaldi likely ends up a reliever, but it’s not too far off I don’t think.

and IMO, I’d never have wanted the Jays to give up Alvarez for Hanley at this point. Not without them eating a ton of money. I’m not sure picking Hanley up on waivers at this point would be a good move.

I think that’s a great return for Miami in this trade.

Dodgers88
Guest
Dodgers88
3 years 10 months ago

Nathan “EO” Eovaldi = Edwin Jackson

AA
Guest
AA
3 years 10 months ago

Except that Eovaldi was traded for a star player at a position of need.

mwash1983
Guest
mwash1983
3 years 10 months ago

Hanley hasn’t been a star for 2 years

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

I freely admit that I have never seen Nathan Eovaldi pitch, but I cannot remember any pitcher being that statistically underwhelming in the minor leagues suddenly turning it on and being above average as a major leaguer, much less satisfactory return for a former MVP candidate still in his prime. This strikes me as the ultimate sell-low. Hanley is at the nadir of his value and the Marlins received a player Baseball America says may profile best as a late inning reliever. I can’t believe anyone wouldn’t think this was an incredibly foolish move for the Marlins.

The Ancient Mariner
Guest
The Ancient Mariner
3 years 9 months ago

Randy Johnson says hello.

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

Randy Johnson has huge command issues, but also had dominant strikeout rates in the minors. Eovaldi has command issues with a fairly average strikeout rate.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 9 months ago

Johnson’s SO/IP in AAA was under 9. http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=johnso002ran

This is a really boring and stupid game, isn’t it?

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

@ Paul – I don’t understand what point you think you were trying to make. Randy Johnson had 128 strikeouts in 131.1 AAA innings, and had well over nine strikeouts per 9 during his overall minor league career. In comparison, Eovaldi’s strikeout rate has been 7.42 per 9 in the minors. That’s a pretty dramatic difference, and as noted, Eovaldi has walked 3.67 per 9. If he had glowing scouting reports then maybe there would be a reason to overlook the lack of statistical success, but he doesn’t. Instead scouts say that he only has two pitches and one of them is a high 90s fastball without much movement, and therefore he probably profiles better as a reliever. Given the lack of strikeouts and the command issues, he’s probably also not even a late-inning reliever but rather a 6th/7th inning guy.

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 9 months ago

Forgive me if I’ve been baited by a troll here. This is an asinine comment. Eovaldi had a very nice year last year in the minors. And underwhelming in the minors and being an above average major leaguer? Try Halladay, Cliff Lee, Sabathia, Matt Cain, John Lackey, etc etc etc. Look at their stats – some are frightenly similar to those that Eovaldi posted. I really can go on forever.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 9 months ago

As I re-read the article, it doesn’t look like Nate’s age is stated. So for any other readers who think he is some 25 year old college pitcher: He had Tommy John surgery in high school, was selected after round 10 and signed anyway; made his major league debut last year at age 21. Granted, they were really short pitchers last year, but you’re right, he put together an excellent season at AA and firmly shook off the “future reliever” tag.

I don’t have a problem with Marlins fans being disappointed, because they were straight-up scammed to get that stadium built. However, I completely agree with the baseball moves they have made in recent days, and for me Eovaldi has more upside than Turner.

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

I think you’re confusing “very nice ERA,” which he did have, with “very nice year.” A 21 year old striking out 8.65 per 9 in AA is not impressive, and a guy with that rate also walking 4.02 per 9 definitely isn’t. We’re talking about a guy who over the course of his minor league career struck out well under eight per 9 and walked almost four per 9. So from a statistical standpoint, Eovaldi is nothing special. Now go to the scouting reports and you have a guy who has only two reliable pitches, one of which is a high 90s fastball but that happens to lack any significant movement.

Also, you might want to look up some data before making additional posts. Lee, Sabathia, and Cain all had VASTLY superior strikeout rates in the minor leagues than Eovaldi. Halladay and Lackey did not, but they did have significantly better command than Eovaldi has yet shown. None of those have any similarity whatsoever, so why you chose to bring them up is beyond my understanding.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 9 months ago

So you’re trying to cut off debate by telling somebody to stop cherry-picking, and the method you use to do so is to cherry-pick? You really think a SO% just under 9 SO/IP in AA as a 21 year old is not good?

His SO% in the Cal League was below league average, but there are a lot of advanced college arms who go through that league. And he was there for under 100 innings.

Do you honestly think it makes sense to pluck out a single year of a young HS arm in the toughest pitching environment in professional baseball, and shout from the rooftops that that should trump everything else?

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

@ Paul – I think you need to put more consideration into your responses. I have looked at the totality of Eovaldi’s minor league career, and my comments about his AA performance were specifically in response to Matt’s focus on that particular season. Regardless of how you try to spin it, Eovaldi’s minor league track record is not impressive.

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
3 years 9 months ago

i buy that a pitcher holding his own at age 21/22 generally portends good things but…for a guy with a FBv of 95 (which has touched 99)…why hasn’t he missed more bats in the minors?

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

Because a straight fastball is easy to hit.

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
3 years 9 months ago

even for AA players?

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 years 9 months ago

Even for high school players.

Paul
Guest
Paul
3 years 9 months ago

He had two seasons under 100 innings as a teenager and did not miss a ton of bats. His lowest SO% was in the Cal League at 20, but isn’t it appropriate to give him credit for a HR/FB rate in that launching pad of 2%? Remember that he was both young and getting his feet wet and also likely rebuilding his command after the TJ in high school.

Then last season at age 21 he had a 23% SO rate and another 2% HR/FB in the Southern League.

I get that people want guys to miss bats, but if a highly rated HS arm moves that quickly, very astute evaluators like Mike Newman and Keith Law like him, and he performed very well at both AA before he could buy a beer, then held his own in MLB, I just don’t know what there is to argue about stats-wise.

Other than the BB%. Actually, that for me is the thing that jumps out as problematic. As Ben Duronino’s excellent Wade Miley analysis showed, if a guy with good stuff can really execute with the FB and also really execute with a good breaking ball, he does not need those additional two pitches to be more than marginally average, and he doesn’t need to throw them very often. It is very encouraging to me that Eovaldi has been throwing what PitchF/X has classified as 2-seamers this year.

This is a guy that can legitimately dominate with weak groundball contact and the ability to put guys away. If you’re on him for fantasy for strikeouts he’s probably not going to be your guy. I’d guess at least for a few years he’ll be a 50% GB guy with a SO% around 6.5.

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