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Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: IVAN NOVA SP PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Add Ivan Nova to the list of reclamation pitching projects made good in Pittsburgh.  Joining A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano as previous pitchers who struggled terribly before making their way to the Pirates, Nova made that same journey at last year's trade deadline after the New York Yankees threw in the towel on him and his 4.90 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.  A guy who relies on location and guile like Nova does is always a bad matchup for the American League and this is especially true in the AL East and being in a bandbox park like Yankee Stadium.  Alas once Nova made his way into the much easier NL and with a Pirates organization lauded for their ability to boost pitchers, the results were staggering.  In his two-month stint with the team to close out 2016, Nova registered a sparkling 3.06 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and struck out 52 batters in 64.2 innings.  The Pirates liked what they saw so much that they re-signed Nova over the winter.  Fast forward to present day and Nova just put the finishing touches on another very good exhibition outing on Thursday as he gave up just one run in 5 innings to lower his Grapefruit League ERA to 0.90.  Needless to say, Nova clearly is someone of interest now in fantasy baseball leagues, especially in NL-only formats.  Again Nova is what he is in terms of being an excellent control guy (1.56 BB/9 in 2016) but the strikeouts don't flow much above the mediocre K/9 line.  Considering the recent history of Pirates pitchers posting very good ratios, Nova can be a nice SP 5 starter you plug in and not have to worry about.  The flash is not great but Nova can be an asset at a very nice draft price this spring.  


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