Ivan Nova: Can He Break the Recent Yankees Pitching Curse?

TJ Nagy@@tj_nagyAnalyst IIINovember 3, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Ivan Nova #47 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout and the end of the top of the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Ivan Nova is pretty damn good.

His 16-4 record and 3.70 ERA this past campaign has solidified that. Sure, he's still a little rough around the edges, and he should thank God that he's got the Yankees' mega-lineup to back him up, but there's no denying that this kid has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in the entire league.

As of right now, that's one less rotation spot for the Yankees to worry about, right?

Well, before New York goes and christens him as their number two pitcher, maybe they should look back on their past "studs" and reconsider things a little bit.

Because something is out the get the Yankees when it comes to pitching...something out of our control.

Seriously, if there is any team with more bad luck with pitching over the last few years, I'd like to see them stacked up against the Yankees. Thank the lord that this team has plenty of money and a great lineup that they can just fall back on when the going gets tough.

Any other team with this kind of trouble would have been dead in the water by June.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Even with all of those millions going towards mediocre players at this point, the Yanks still have a Top 5 farm system every single year. When you can afford the best of everything, that sort of thing is pretty expected, and Nova is a clear example of what the Yankees are producing out there in Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton.

I'll repeat it: Nova is pretty damn good. But can the Yanks trust him after being betrayed so many times in the past?

NEW YORK - JULY 25:  Joba Chamberlain #62 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after retiring the Kansas City Royals during their game on July 25, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Let's take a walk down memory lane and look at where a few of New York's biggest pitching prospects stand today.

Chien-Ming Wang: Okay, maybe I'm cheating just a little bit on this one. Granted he did have major league (and Olympic) experience in Taiwan, but once he came to the Yanks he still had to rise up and prove himself in the farm system like everybody else.

Back a few years ago, Wang couldn't have been more of a sure thing for the Yankees. He was the certified ace at one point, coming in second place one year for the Cy Young Award, and even posted two back-to-back 19-win seasons in 2006 and 2007.

Maybe he fell apart a little bit when the postseason rolled around (19.06 ERA in case you forgot), but that was just nerves. Wang was still a certified pitcher that the Yanks would have for years to come.

Where is he now? He's on the Nationals, where careers go to die and Jayson Werth is their franchise player. He's there because his immense talent evaporated before our very eyes in New York thanks to injuries, and now he's basically just another questionable spot in Washington's rotation.

Joba ChamberlainBoy, what's left to say about this guy? He took New York by storm like some kind of second coming, and was arguably one of the hottest names in baseball at one point.

Remember this?

Chamberlain had it all—the arm, the emotion, the acceptance and the backstory. This was a kid who actually achieved his dream—he made it to the top of a mountain as a Yankee—and had an entire city behind his back. The only real question that concerned the Yankees about Chamberlain was would he be more awesome as a starter or a bullpen guy.

As of today, he's not awesome in either of those things. In fact, after getting Tommy John surgery and ending his 2011 season early, Chamberlain is now teetering on becoming a complete and total bust.

After so much potential only a couple of years ago, it's amazing to witness how far this guy has fallen. There was a time not too long ago where this guy was the future, now he's starting to look more forgettable.

You can blame the "Joba Rules," or the fact that skipper Joe Girardi and his crew bounced Chamberlain back-and-forth from rotation to bullpen more times then I can fathom. Either way, you can't deny that somebody blew it, whether it was Joba or the organization that created him.

Phil Hughes: The guy is the biggest culprit of them all when it comes to doing this. It seems like from year to year, the opinion on Hughes changes drastically from one side of the spectrum to the other.

The former first-round pick for the Yanks is still a head=scratcher after four years in the big leagues. He's shown flashes of brilliance numerous times, but injuries have plagued him throughout his career, and there's no doubt that the Yankees may be wearing a little bit thin with him.

I'm just going to come right out and say it: Hughes was arguably the biggest player not named CC Sabathia that helped the Yankees clinch their 27th world title in 2009. He was the perfect bridge to Mariano Rivera, and looked like a stud every single time he stepped on that mound.

Every single Yankee employee, player and fan had confidence in him by the end of that year, and there's no doubt he earned it.

In 2010, he became a starter again and finished with 18 wins, even with a very mediocre 4.19 ERA. But after a lost 2011 season thanks to injury, his career is up in the air yet again.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after he was taken out of the game in the top of the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yanke
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Can he bounce back and prove he's worth keeping around? Only time will tell, but due to past experience I'm going to go with no way in hell.

So, do you see what I'm getting at by showing all these players? Somehow Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, whose combined age is seemingly 143, have found the fountain of youth in the Bronx, while future stars on this team continue to struggle and disappear after a year or two of solid play. 

It's absurd to say the least. 

Nova is just another young, talented pitcher who may succumb to this awkward curse that the Yanks have fallen under.

I'm not saying to ship him off to some other team immediately, but don't be fooled by the record, or the ERA, or his clutch play. One bad throw, or one ball off the shin, and he'll just be another forgettable Yankees pitcher.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman must have noticed the pattern by now too. It's just much too prevalent to ignore at this point, and may end up costing the Yankees dearly as options start wearing more and more thin. 

We'll see how Nova handles his second full year of play, but if things start going south right out of gate, dump him immediately for something a little more stable, before he becomes more worthless then Joba Chamberlain and Kei Igawa combined.

Yeah, don't get me started on Igawa either.