“In the beginning, it was hard,” Nova said. “But now I feel more comfortable. … I’m better down (in the zone), throwing more strikes.”
“I think he’s commanded his fastball better and I think he’s had a better downhill plane because of the little adjustment he made with his hands,” Joe Girardi said. “To me that (was) his inconsistency a lot of times last year was his command would get a little bit off. He didn’t walk people, but he didn’t hit his spots. And I’ve seen an improvement in that.”
This isn’t exactly a new delivery for the right-hander, as he specified yesterday that he uses this shorter arm motion when throwing the curveball. This isn’t all too uncommon, as most pitchers attempt to get a slightly higher arm slot on curveballs to increase the sinking action. Here is what the release points of both Nova’s fastball and curveball looked like in 2012.
The blue indicates Nova’s curveball release point, while the grey represents his fastballs. As you can see, the release point for the curveball is consistently higher by a few inches, an indicator of the shorter arm motion.
Nova and the Yankees are now hoping that using the different arm motion for all his pitches will help his command. As I pointed out yesterday, Nova also changed his delivery during the 2012 season by keeping his hands level with his chest, rather than bringing them over his head. Thus far, Nova has been hitting his spot very wells, and in 9.0 innings this spring, he’s allowed only 1 walk and 8 hits.