Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is counting down the top 100 Marlins of all-time. For comparison’s sake, we are using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric as a measuring device. The top 100 WAR ratings are being featured. Today’s Marlin, Nathan Eovaldi, earned 2.9 while with Florida.
Eovaldi is a 6’2”, 225 lb. right-handed pitcher from Houston, Texas. Born on February 13th, 1990, he was selected in the 11th round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Alvin High School. Taken 337th overall that year, Eovaldi is one of only five players chosen in the round to have made it to baseball’s top level, and the only one with a WAR over 1 (he’s earned 7.2 overall).
After his selection, Eovaldi made seven appearances at the rookie level to finish out 2008, racking up a 0.938 WHIP, a 0.84 ERA and whiffing 11 over 10.2 innings. He spent the entire 2009 campaign in the single-A Midwest League, with the Great Lakes Loons. He took 16 turns in the Loons’ rotation, and also made 10 relief appearances through the season. Eovaldi posted a 3-5 record with a 1.412 WHIP, with a 3.27 ERA and 71 whiffs over 96.1 innings.
Eovaldi joined the Inland Empire 66ers for the 2010 season, where he went 3-5 with a 4.45 ERA, a 1.553 WHIP, and 58 K’s over 85.0 innings. Most of 2011 would be spent by him with the Chattanooga Lookouts in the double-A Southern League (20 games, 6-5, 2.62 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, 99 K’s in 103.0 innings. He also for the first time got some time at the major league level, going 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.385 WHIP, striking out 23 in 34.2 innings.
Eovaldi took 10 turns for LA in the 2012 rotation, and dropped a 1-6 record, a 4.15 ERA, a 1.473 WHIP, and 34 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. On July 25th, the Dodgers traded him with Scott McGough to the Marlins for Randy Choate and Hanley Ramirez.
On July 28th, Eovaldi earned a win in his first appearance with the Marlins, pitching 5.1 innings, striking out five, and allowing one earned run in a 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres. On September 18th, he pitched eight shutout innings, striking out five and allowing four hits in an eventual 4-3 10-inning win against the Atlanta Braves. He ended up going 3-7 for the 69-93 Fish down the stretch run, with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.540 WHIP over 12 starts.
In 2013, Eovaldi went 4-6 for the Marlins over 18 starts. In 106.1 innings, he struck out 78 batters versus 40 walks, and racked up a 1.317 WHIP with a 3.39 ERA. On August 10th, he struck out eight over seven scoreless innings, giving up just one hit in a 1-0 victory over the Braves (see below). On September 1st, he pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out six in a 7-0 win against the Braves. Sometimes, he was even good against teams other than Atlanta, such as on September 23rd, when he went 7.2 scoreless frames, allowing just three hits while striking out five Phillies in a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia.
In 2014, Eovaldi spent the entire season in Miami’s rotation, as the number two starter. The Marlins, 77-85 overall, went 10-23 when Eovaldi started against a 67-62 record when someone else did. He led the team with 33 starts and with 199.2 innings pitched. He posted a 6-14 record and a 1.332 WHIP. His 3.37 FIP indicated that he pitched a full run better than his 4.37 ERA, and he was second on the team with 142 strikeouts.
On April 30th, in a 9-3 win against the Braves (who else?), Eovaldi allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out five over seven innings. On August 2nd, he allowed one run on two hits, with six strikeouts in seven innings as the Marlins defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1. He earned his last win of the season on August 8th, striking out six over eight shutout five-hit innings in another 2-1 win against Cincinnati. After the season, the Marlins traded him with Garrett Jones and Domingo German to the New York Yankees for David Phelps, Martin Prado, and cash.
Eovaldi led the American League with an .824 winning percentage for the Yankees in 2014, going 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.451 WHIP. He added a 9-8 campaign last season, with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.307 WHIP before getting put on the IR for an elbow problem on August 12th, and eventually, Eovaldi underwent his second Tommy John surgery. The Yankees released him on November 23rd.