The scouting report on Nathan Eovaldi is pretty simple: a hard-throwing yet hittable right-hander, who has struggled to rack up strikeouts despite a dazzling fastball that he throws consistently in the mid-to-high 90s.
The stats back up the scouts, too. Eovaldi’s heater last season averaged 95.7 mph, fourth-highest among starting pitchers, yet his strikeout rate of 16.6 percent ranked 70th in that group of 88 qualified starters. He racked up just 142 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings last year, one more than Masahiro Tanaka managed in his injury-shorted season of 136 1/3 innings.
Eovaldi even admitted that his lack of strikeouts remains one of the biggest holes in his resume. “That’s one of the big issues I’ve had, not being able to finish the batters off,” Eovaldi told reporters this spring.
So why did Eovaldi struggle so much to get strike three and putaway hitters, despite a fastball that nearly reaches three digits? You know the drill, let’s dig into the numbers to see if we can make sense of the apparent disconnect between Eovaldi’s high heat and mediocre strikeout rates. Continue reading Nathan Eovaldi’s putaway problem