Nova’s changeup has a littel extra arm-side fade and sits at 86 mph. He’ll throw it to hitters on both sides of the plate, but he attacks lefties with it three times as often. His gets the most bang for his buck when he’s locating low and away, getting lefties to swing through it or ground out.
Nova’s curveball is of the 12-6 variety and comes in at about 80 mph. He uses it much more often against lefties, almost like a souped-up version of a changeup, coming in even slower with more drop. It’s a decent whiff pitch, but what it does best is suppress good contact, posting a FIP of just 2.67.
When it comes to fastballs, Nova leads with his sinker but also shows a four-seamer. Both are on the lower end of the velo spectrum (92 mph) and he tends to use the four-seamer a little more often when trying to go inside against lefties. Neither pitch is very good at inducing whiffs, and they tend to get hammered when left in the zone.
Nova’s primary fastball lost some drop but still featured above-average arm-side run and was an effective ground-ball pitch (56.1%). Still, he gave up double-digit home runs on it for the third straight year and looked to sell out a bit for a few more swinging strikes, which left it exposed for a -3.4 pVal.
This has never been an effective offering for Nova and 2018 was no different with a -3.1 pVal over 807 thrown. Hitters slugged .500 on it, and while he kept the walks in check, it didn’t do anything particularly well.
The hook has been a sneaky-good pitch for quite some time, and 2018 was no different. Nova’s curve sported a nice 15.2% swinging-strike rate (though it lacks in chase and zone rates), and has traditionally limited contact in general. Its overall movement is nothing to write home about, but the curve’s late drop kept hitters guessing enough for a 4.2 pVal.
Though Nova’s changeup featured above-average fade and carried impressive swinging-strike and chase rates, hitters squared it up for a .933 OPS in 2018. He kept the walk rate to 2.8%, but perhaps he should keep it off the plate more and trust its whiffability in 2019.