Iván Nova

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Iván Manuel Nova Guance
(Super Nova)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 5", Weight 250 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ivan Nova came to the majors in 2010 and won 16 games a year later.

Signed by scout Victor Mata and Latin American scouting coordinator Carlos Rios for the New York Yankees in 2004, Nova made his pro debut with the 2005 DSL Yankees 1, going 0-1 with a 2.29 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings, allowing 29 hits. With the 2006 GCL Yankees, the right-hander had a 3-0, 2.72 record for the GCL Yankees with one save; he fanned 36 while walking only 7 in 43 innings.

In 2007, the Dominican went 6-8 with a 4.98 ERA for the Charleston RiverDogs, allowing a .306 average. That winter, he had one win in 1 2/3 shutout innings for the Leones del Escogido. Moving up to the 2008 Tampa Yankees, Nava had a 8-13, 4.36 record and .294 opponent average. He led the Florida State League in losses as well as losing more than any other Yankee farmhand.

That winter, the San Diego Padres chose Nova in the 2008 Rule V Draft, but they returned him at the end of the following spring training after he allowed 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings. Nova split 2009 between the Trenton Thunder (5-4, 2.36) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (1-4, 5.10). He was sharp in the postseason for the AAA Yankees with a 1-0, 1.93 record. He was 1-0 with a 1.05 ERA thta winter for Escogido.

Nova began 2010 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club, going 2-0 with a 3.73 ERA. He was then called up to the majors to replace Romulo Sanchez in the bullpen. After three shutout innings in his first two games in the majors, Nova was returned to the minors when Chan-ho Park came off the Disabled List. He later came back to the big club and made seven starts and three relief appearances overall, with a 1-2 record and a 4.50 ERA.

Nova made the Yankees' starting rotation out of spring training in 2011 and pitched very well over the first half, going 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 16 starts. In spite of a few hiccups, he was generally solid, and was in fact the first Yankee rookie to make 15 starts in the first half of a season since Doc Medich in 1973. However, on July 3rd, with Phil Hughes about to come back from the disabled list, he was sent down to AAA to make room. He was called back on July 30th and benefitted from a huge offensive outburst in his first start, as the Yankees scored 12 runs in the 1st inning in the second game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles; he cruised to an easy 17-3 victory. He finished the season with a 16-4 record and a 3.70 ERA in 165 1/3 innings, although he struck out only 98 batters. He tied for 4th in the 2011 AL in wins behind Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia and Jeff Weaver. He was second to Verlander in winning percentage. Otherwise, he only made the top 10 in wild pitches and lowest home run rate. He took over for his teammate Sabathia in the second inning of Game 1 of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers after the game, begun the previous day, had been suspended by weather. He pitched well over 7 1/3 innings of relief and earned the win. He was then picked to start the decisive Game 5, but left after one inning during which he had given up two runs, victim of a pulled groin muscle. He was charged with the loss that time.

In 2012, Nova ran his streak of consecutive wins to 15, one shy of the Yankees franchise record, by winning his first three decisions of the year. The streak ended on May 2nd when the Yankees were shut out by the Baltimore Orioles' Jake Arrieta, 5-0. On August 23rd, he was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his rotator cuff. He was 11-7, 4.92 and had allowed an American League-leading 179 hits at the time. The move was seen as a way to allow CC Sabathia to return to the active roster while giving the young Nova a rest for a couple of weeks, rather than the sign of anything seriously wrong. Indeed, he made three more starts in late September with the Yankees in a tight race with the Orioles, winning once and losing once to finish the season at 12-8, 5.02 in 28 starts and 170 1/3 innings. He tied Dan Haren for 9th in the 2012 AL with 28 homers allowed, was 10th with 95 earned runs allowed and, on a more positive note, was 10th in K per 9 innings (8.08). He did not pitch in the postseason.

He started 2013 in the Yankees' starting rotation, going 1-1, 6.48 in 4 April starts, but then was one of a slew of Yankees to make a trip on the disabled list, being out until May 25th. That day, he picked up a win in relief against the Tampa Bay Rays, then in his next appearance, also in relief, on May 29th, he managed a rare feat, striking out the side on 9 pitches against the New York Mets in the 8th inning. It was the 50th time this had been accomplished in the major leagues. However, with an ERA above 5.00, he was sent down to the minor leagues after that, only coming back a month later. He pitched much better after his return, as in July and August, he went 6-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.88. He pitched his first career complete game in beating the Orioles on July 9th, then finished August with his first career shutout, a masterful three-hit whitewash of the same Orioles, 2-0, on August 31st. His excellent performance during the month was rewarded with the American League's Pitcher of the Month Award, in recognition of his record of 4-0, 2.08 in August. On September 21st, he threw a six-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants with the Yankees trying to hand on at the edge of the wild card race. He finished the season at 9-6, 3.10 in 23 games, including 20 starts, pitching 139 1/3 innings.

Ivan was part of the Yankees' starting rotation at the start of 2014 and was 2-1 after 3 starts, but in his fourth on April 19th, he suffered a drubbing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, giving up 4 homers and 8 runs in 4 innings as the Yankees lost, 16-1. That shot his ERA up to 8.27, and he complained of pain in his elbow. An exam by Dr. James Andrews revealed a partially torn ligament. He opted to undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season. His return to the big leagues took place on June 24, 2015, and it was a successful one, as he allowed only 3 hits to the Philadelphia Phillies in 6 2/3 scoreless innings and received credit for a 10-2 win. He made 17 starts that season, ending up with a decision in each, a rare feat in this day of strict pitch counts. His record was 6-11, with an ERA of 5.07. Despite all the decision, he only logged 94 innings.

Ivan made 21 appearances for the Yankees in 2016, including 15 starts. Like the team itself, he was just middling, with a record of 7-6 and a 4.90 ERA. He gave up a lot of hits - 107 in 97 1/3 innings - but his K/W ratio was quite good at 75/25. On August 1st, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for two players to be named later. It was a bit of a surprising development because, while the Yankees were shedding high-priced talent at that point, they were doing so with a clear strategy of getting younger and stocking up their farm system with talented prospects. Not yet 30, Nova was not getting on in years, his salary was quite reasonable, and the fact there was no return identified in the immediate made it unlikely the Yankees would be getting anyone of great value at the end of the day. Nova turned things around with the Pirates, going 5-2, 3.06 in 11 starts. He was among the National League leaders for complete games with 3, one of which was a no-decision when the Pirates played the Chicago Cubs to a 1-1 tie on September 29th. The Pirates were suitably impressed with his work and on December 22nd, re-signed him to a three-year contract worth $26 million.

Nova continued to pitch well in 2017. On April 29th, he recorded a three-hit shutout in defeating the Miami Marlins, 4-0. It was his second complete game of the month, which he ended with an ERA of 1.50, landing him the title of National League Pitcher of the Month for April. He could not keep up this level of performance all season, but still finished with a record of 11-14, 4.14. He tied for the NL lead with the two complete games and logged 187 innings, second-most on the team behind Gerrit Cole. With Cole having been traded before the 2018 season, it was Ivan who inherited the prestigious assignment of being the Bucs's [[[opening day]] starter that season. he had a relatively good year, making 29 starts and pitching 160 innings while going 9-9, 4.19. His best weapon was his ability to keep walks to a minimum, as he issued just 35.

On December 11, 2018, the Pirates traded Nova to the Chicago White Sox in return for minor league pitcher Yordi Rosario and $500,000 in international bonus pool money.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Complete Games Leader (2017)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2011)

Related Sites[edit]