Pirates Interested in Nathan Eovaldi

Last night the Pirates had a scout in at the Trop in Tampa to watch Chris Archer take the hill against the Orioles. Today, it is reported that the Pirates are interested in Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

While fans would much rather see Chris Archer in the Burgh, Nathan Eovaldi will be more likely to be acquired.

The Pirates showed interest in trading for Eovaldi back when he was made available by the Marlins.

Pros:

  • He is only 26 years old. Eovaldi has one more year of arbitration control.
  • Fastball velocity. Eovaldi is averaging 97.9 mph with his 4-seam fastball in 2016 and has hit as high as 102 at times.
  • Affordable. It might not take much to get him. Reports said it may take a guy like Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault or Trevor Williams. It is doubtful that Niese would be exchanged straight up for him, but Niese and another mid-level prospect could get it done.
  • Walk rate. 2.92 BB/9 is considered average and is good for someone with high velocity.
  • He has the makeup to become a great reliever. He combines the high heat fastball with a splitter, slider and curveball. He can generate lots of ground balls with his splitter and it is his second best pitch. His curve has a sharp break and is thrown around 75 mph but doesn’t generate a lot of swing and misses. His slider is his breaking ball of choice, but it is nothing incredible and averages at 84 mph.

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Cons:

  • Strike out rate. 7.39 K/9 is below average per Fangraphs and is low for someone who can throw so hard.
  • To go with the strikeout, Eovaldi doesn’t generate a lot of swing and misses.
  • Home run rate. 1.73 HR/9 in 2016 is the highest of his career. He has served up 19 home runs this year, which is only one less than Jon Niese has given up this year.

You could argue Eovaldi’s home run rate is so high pitching at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, but only 10 of the 19 he has given up have been at home.

He was removed from the Yankees rotation early July and has yet to give up an earned run in 7.2 innings pitched.

He could help limit the innings of the young guys or even add a power arm to the bullpen.

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