Coming into 2014, many experts and analysts pegged Nathan Eovaldi as a potential breakout candidate. Henderson Alvarez is the member of the Marlin’s rotation that has taken the biggest stride this season, and Eovaldi has struggled to find consistency. When Jose Fernandez went down for the season, Alvarez answered the bell and started turning out quality starts. Now with Henderson Alvarez on the disabled list, Nathan Eovaldi has started to come around.
Here are Eovaldi’s numbers by month:
It’s been an up and down year for Eovaldi to say the least. He had a phenomenal April where his strikeouts were way up from his career averages, and he was turning out quality starts left and right. He took a dip in the following months, struggling to command his off speed pitches. His fastball velocity was also not as impressive as usual.
Thus far, August has been a turning point for Eovaldi. His two starts have made him seem untouchable, as he’s been commanding his electric fastball and using his slider effectively. I witnessed his start on August 2nd vs the Reds first hand, and he touched triple digits with his fastball a few times. He also seemed to generate more swings and misses with his slider, and ended up striking out 6 across 7 innings.
What’s causing the recent success for Eovaldi?
It’s no secret that he’s a fastball pitcher, he throws gas, and has turned it up recently. Over his last two starts, Eovaldi’s fastball has averaged 97.3 MPH, compared to his season average of 95.7 MPH. His slider is also coming in harder, at 87.5 MPH to his season average of 86.2.
Basically, Nathan’s throwing everything he’s got, and he’s throwing it hard. I’ve always felt that for him to succeed, he just needs to let it rip. It’s harder for hitters to pick up on a slider when it follows a 100 MPH fastball.
Whatever the case, Eovaldi seems to have figured out why he was going through a serious rough patch. Hopefully he keeps it going the rest of the way, because if the Marlins want to maintain their slim playoff hopes, they’re going to need him.