Williams: Is There an Expiration Date For the Pirates’ Reclamation Magic?

Francisco Liriano, J.A. Happ, and Ivan Nova are the biggest reclamation projects the Pirates have had in recent years. Photo Credits: David Hague
Williams: Is There an Expiration Date For the Pirates’ Reclamation Magic?

Ivan Nova currently has a 3.87 ERA and a 4.06 xFIP. For a free agent signing on a three-year, $26 M deal, those aren't bad surface numbers. He's making about $8.5 M per year on average, and is currently worth 1.5 fWAR, with the typical $/WAR figure for free agents coming in at $8-9 M now. Nova has provided more than the value of his 2017 contract already.

If you dig a bit deeper into Nova's numbers, you see a concerning trend that is developing. Through his start on June 11th, he had a 2.83 ERA and a 4.00 xFIP. The advanced metrics weren't far off where he is for the season, and the higher ERA is due to a low BABIP (.262) and a high strand rate (76.7%). Nova's totals last year with the Pirates in both of those categories were .318 and 68.7%, which is closer to the typical league average...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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