As the key piece received by Miami in the Hanley Ramirez trade, Nathan Eovaldi ranks as one of the better pitching prospects I’ve scouted during the past couple of seasons. And while his fastball/slider combination has not translated into numbers which stand out from a statistical standpoint, the core components are there for the former Dodgers product to emerge as a quality mid-rotation starter at the big league level.
In 2011, I posted a number of notes on Eovaldi on my former site:
Excellent size; Eovaldi looked closer to 210 lbs. than his listed weight of 195
Well-proportioned frame; Size through the quads and shoulders; Athletic pitcher’s frame
Fluid delivery with good pacing; Generates easy velocity
High 3/4 arm slot; Limits movement on his fastball
94-96 MPH 4-seam fastball
4-seamer lacked movement; Worked pitch in-and-out effectively
Maintained velocity throughout the start; Still touching 95 MPH in the 5th
91-92 MPH 2-seam fastball; Some arm side run
84 MPH slider; Best breaking ball; Used as out pitch
Pitch featured late cut; Depth improved throughout the course of the game
78 MPH curveball; Threw sparingly; One CB was thrown behind RHH to backstop; Below average offering
83-84 MPH Changeup; Threw sparingly; Slowed arm action
In 2012, his velocity was up to 98 MPH in short spurts and his average fastball velocity has been 94.5 MPH at the major league level as a starter. Pair this with a mid-80’s slider and Eovaldi profiles as a classic power pitcher. However, little has changed in terms of a third pitch he can utilize as both his changeup and curveball are used less than 11% of the time — combined.
The Dodgers were working with him on developing quality third offering while in Chattanooga. At a time when Eovaldi was doing the up-and-down shuffle from Double-A to Los Angeles, he gave the following quote to the Time Free Press. “We’ve been doing a lot of work in the bullpen between games… I’ve just been struggling, and I’m trying to work on my curveball and changeup, specifically.”
In some respects, his arsenal resembles that of a young Ryan Dempster during his time with the Florida Marlins which is ironic considering Eovaldi now finds himself a member of ‘The Fish”. And while a comparison to the Dempster of today would be a high compliment, a time existed when the right-hander was just a fastball/slider guy without a defined role at the major league level. He’s not an elite pitching prospect, but he has the ability to turn into a quality starter if things break right.