Up: Nathan Eovaldi
One of the Red Sox few acquisitions before the trade deadline, Nathan Eovaldi has been even better than advertised. Prior to his time in a Boston uniform, Eovaldi had been enjoying a renaissance season with the Tampa Bay Rays. The former New York Yankees prospect missed the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery; in 2018, he reintroduced himself to baseball as a different pitcher.
Per Fangraphs, much of Eovaldi’s success can be attributed to a lower fastball usage rate and a higher cutter usage rate. He also uses more of the zone with his fastball, hitting higher spots than he used to, which makes it harder to predict. His cutter, on the other hand, sees more of the middle of the plate than the glove side, which makes it harder for batters to tell it apart from his fastball.
A more complete pitcher now than he was during his time in New York, Eovaldi didn’t miss a beat after arriving in Boston. In two starts with his new team, Eovaldi has covered 16 innings and allowed just seven hits, one walk, and no runs. His latest masterpiece, an eight-inning domination of the Yankees, cemented his place in the rotation.
It’s possible he could still move to the bullpen for the playoffs. He’d be valuable as a long relief option who owns righties, and as a bridge to Craig Kimbrel. However, if he keeps pitching as well as he has been, it’ll be hard to take him out of the rotation.