Nathan Edward Eovaldi
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Alvin High School
- Debut August 6, 2011
Nathan Eovaldi was an 11th-round choice by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2008 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Chris Smith and was 0-1, 0.84 in seven games in the minor leagues that year all in relief. Eovaldi then became a starter with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League in 2009, posting a 3-5 record, 3.27 in 96.1 innings. In 2010, he again pitched fewer than 100 innings, this time with three different teams, due to some rehabilitation outings at lower levels, most of his time being spent with the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League. He was 4-6, 4.30 overall.
After this unassuming beginning in the professional ranks, Eovaldi, vaulted all the way to the major leagues in 2011. Assigned to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts to start the year, Eovaldi was 6-5, 2.62 in his first 20 games, pitching 103 innings, giving up only 76 hits and striking out 99. On August 6th, he was called up to the big leagues to take the place of the injured Rubby De La Rosa in the Dodgers' starting rotation. Facing the Arizona Diamondbacks, he struck out 7 over 5 innings, giving up only two runs, and was credited with his team's 5-3 win. He also got a hit in his first major league at bat, against Joe Saunders. He made 10 appearances - 6 of them starts - for the Dodgers that first season, ending with a record of 1-2, 3.63. In 2012, he pitched 9 times for Chattanooga, with a record of 2-2, 3.09, then returned to Los Angeles on May 29th. In 10 big league starts, he was only 1-6, 4.15. On July 25th, he was traded along with Scott McGough to the Miami Marlins in return for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate. His debut with the Marlins on July 28th was a successful one, as he allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings in a 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres. He went 3-7 in 12 starts for the Marlins to finish the year at 4-13, 4.30.
Eovaldi had won a spot as the Marlins' number 2 starter in spring training in 2013 but was felled by a shoulder injury on the eve of opening day and had to start the year on the disabled list. He was only able to return on June 18th, but proved to be extremely solid from that point forward, even if wins were hard to come by. On August 10th, he had an excellent 3.19 ERA in 9 starts, but only a 2-2 record to show for it. That day he lowered his ERA even further with 7 shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves, who were on a 14-game winning streak, but he left with the ballgame still scoreless and did not get credit for the Marlins' 1-0 win on a 9th-inning run.
On December 19, 2014, he was traded to the New York Yankees along with Garrett Jones and Domingo German for Martin Prado and David Phelps. The Yankees had bet that because of his good stuff, he could have much better results than what he had shown so far if given solid support, and they were proved right in 2015. In spite of an ERA of 4.20, he was 14-3, when he was placed on the disabled list on September 7th, the latest in a string of health issues by members of the team's starting rotation. His record gave him the highest winning percentage in the American League at .824, an ironic result, given his career winning percentage had been an awful .300 entering the season. He also distinguished himself with the velocity of his pitches during the season: he had the highest average fastball velocity among all major league starting pitchers, as well as the most pitches over 100 mph, and he also threw the fastest pitch by anyone not named Aroldis Chapman, a fastball clocked at 101.6 mph. Chapman was in an other-worldly category, having registered the top 77 fastest pitches thrown that year.
He was back in the Yankees' starting rotation in the first half of the 2016 season, but his ERA rose over a full run, to 5.54 after 16 starts. He still managed to keep a decent win/loss record during that span, at 6-6, but that was entirely due to a stretch in late April and May during which he went 6-0, 2.72 in 7 starts. In his next 6 starts, he went 0-4, 9.20 and on July 4th, it was announced that he would be moved to the bullpen for the time being. He earned a win in relief a few days later, then was moved back to the rotation on July 19th and was a winner in his first two starts. He continued to pitch well even if he suffered a couple of losses after that, but on August 10th, he had to leave a start against the Boston Red Sox after a 1-2-3 1st inning because of pain in his elbow. The news turned out to be quite bad, as he had suffered a torn ligament and a torn tendon, necessitating two discrete surgeries, and putting him on the shelf for the remainder of the year and all of 2017 as well. He was 9-8, 4.76 in 24 games, including 21 starts, when he went down. After the season, the Yankees decided to have him designated for assignment rather than wait out until he was ready to pitch again.
- AL Winning Percentage Leader (2015)