Miami Marlins: Nathan Eovaldi to be Removed from Rotation?
By Ehsan Kassim
Nathan Eovaldi got off to a very promising start to the season. He was striking out hitters at a great pace in the first month of the season and legitimately looked like a ace 1-B to Jose Fernandez.
Flash forward to September of this year and the talk around Marlins land is about potentially moving Eovaldi to the bullpen. Well, at least for the rest of the season, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
"Eovaldi’s rotation spot comes up on Sunday at Marlins Park against the Nationals. But the club has not announced whether he will start."
Frisaro mentioned Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani as potential replacements for Eovaldi in the rotation, in the case that the Marlins opt for moving Eovaldi out of the pen.
I am on record stating the the recent struggles of Eovaldi should have the Marlins move to shut him down for the season. Eovaldi has thrown a career high of 186 2/3 innings this season, after completing just 106 1/3 innings last season.
Michael Hill, president of baseball operations, recognizes that Eovaldi is in “uncharted waters” when it comes to the number of innings pitched and they are keeping that in mind when they decide if he makes his next start. Despite his struggles this season, the Marlins are not panicking and thinking about moving Eovaldi to the pen next season.
"“A lot of times when you think of starters moving to the bullpen, it’s when there are short glimpses with velo, and then it falls off,” Hill said. “It’s not a falling off situation for him. There are probably some mechanical issues with him that we need to address. He needs to make better pitches and improve the consistency of his secondary pitches to allow him to be effective. Right now, he’s definitely a starter.”"
A few weeks ago, I examined whether Eovaldi had been bad or unlucky. The conclusion I reached was that while he was struggling, Eovaldi had proven that he’s still capable of being a starter long-term and part of his struggles this season can be attributed to bad luck.
"Eovaldi still has a lot of work to do improve as a starter for the Marlins long-term, but a season as an innings eater with a league average xFIP is promising for Eovaldi going forward. If he can improve his slider and work on another off-speed pitch in the season, Eovaldi can still develop into a decent number 3 starter. If not, Eovaldi still has the ceiling of a number 5 guy or even a solid closer."
The Marlins believe Eovaldi’s issue this season has been a mechanical one. If they can work to correct that over the off-season, they could hope to have the Eovaldi from April back. If they do, the starting rotation of Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart, Andrew Heaney, Nathan Eovaldi, and Tom Koehler could be a formidable one, until Jose Fernandez returns.
In my opinion, the Marlins should go ahead and shut Eovaldi down for the season. His 186+ innings this season seem to have taken a toll on him. The Marlins have two quality young guns that need work in the big leagues to take his place.