Nova has had some shaky outings in his very short career, but he seems to be overcoming some of his flaws, and turning into a very good pitcher for the Yankees.
Still, New York doesn't have room for him unless it moves to a six-man pitching rotation.
He's 8-2 in his last 10 starts, he belongs in the majors and here's why...
Ivan Nova has tremendous stuff. His fastball is about 93-96 mph, which would prompt many MLB teams to give him a chance (especially from a starter). Nova also has a great curveball, with a lot of break, and a good slider.
With this kind of stuff, Nova gets a lot of swings and misses.
In Nova's young career, he has had some trouble with location. However, over his last 10 games, he has walked just 18 batters, or 2.6 walks per 9.0 innings. This is nearly an entire walk shaved off his (short) career 3.5 BB/9.
Okay, so it's 10 games. Still, over CC Sabathia's last 10 games (in which he's 9-1), he has allowed 17 walks—just one fewer walk than Nova.
After Thursday night's victory against the Chicago White Sox, Ivan Nova is now 10-0 when given a lead by the Yankees. Obviously, one can't win without the lead, but protecting a lead is very important for a pitcher.
Although not every lead is a big one, pitching with a big lead can be a challenge for many starters. Nova knows how to manage these advantages, as showcased July 30th against the Baltimore Orioles, when the Yankees gave Nova a 12-run lead in the first inning. Nova went seven strong innings, giving up just two earned runs.
In contrast, on Wednesday night in Chicago, A.J. Burnett was given a 12-run lead by the Bombers, and could only get through 4.1 innings, giving up seven runs. This leads me to my next point...
A.J. Burnett should not be starting for the Yankees. He is overpaid and far too inconsistent. As I wrote in this article, the Yankees need for him to be claimed off waivers.
From last season to this season, Nova's ERA has dropped from 4.50 to 3.81—still not a great ERA, but definitely a vast improvement.
From the beginning of the season to now, Nova has greatly improved his control and composure on the mound. Earlier in the season, if he got into a jam, he would get flustered and lose control. Now, if Nova finds himself in a jam, he takes a deep breath and, more often than not, pitches his way out of it.
Also, in the past, Nova couldn't seem to get through the fifth or sixth inning. He would coast through the first 12 or 13 outs, and then hit a wall. But lately, he has been able to bust right through that wall, as he has pitched six or more innings seven out of his last 10 starts.
Nearly all facets of his game have improved throughout this season, and there is no reason he can't continue to get better.
Ivan Nova deserves to start for the Yankees. He is 10-4 in 18 starts, and has not lost a game in which the Yankees have given him a lead.
He has more than "plus" stuff, his control keeps getting better and he has learned how to stay out of his own head when he gets into trouble.
He is blossoming into a more-than-legitimate major league starter, and deserves to be such.
The Yankees need to keep Nova out of the minors and in the big league rotation.