Since the Pirates acquired Ivan Nova from the Yankees prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, the right-hander has unexpectedly performed like a top-of-the-rotation starter. In seven starts and 46 1/3 innings with the Bucs, Nova has recorded a 2.54 ERA while tossing two complete games and amassing 32 strikeouts against a paltry two walks. Part of the reason for Nova’s success is the Pirates’ stadium, PNC Park, he told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s not like pitching in Baltimore or Boston, Toronto, where the ball flies, or New York. A fly ball, (and) it’s a homer,” said Nova, whose new venue has the largest left field in the majors, per Sawchik. Yankee Stadium, on the other hand, has the league’s shallowest right field and is among its most home run-friendly venues. The change in parks has been timely for Nova, a free agent-to-be who is likely pitching his way to an appreciable raise over his current salary of $4.1MM.
More from the National League:
- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich will face several important decisions during the offseason, observes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. In addition to the fate of manager Walt Weiss, whose contract expires at season’s end, Bridich will have to address a few areas on the diamond – including the bullpen and outfield. While the Rockies have a glut of capable outfielders, which might open the door for a trade, they could use more quality relievers to complement the likes of Adam Ottavino and perhaps Boone Logan, who’s an impending free agent. Saunders wonders whether the Rockies will pursue Nationals closer Mark Melancon, a free agent-to-be who’s a Colorado native, but he concedes that the team is unlikely to spend big money on anyone. That should rule out Melancon as a possibility.
- The Phillies called up two of their top prospects, catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Roman Quinn, before Sunday’s game against the Nationals. Alfaro, whom Baseball America rates as the game’s 67th-best prospect, earned his first promotion in late August, but the Phillies quickly returned him to Double-A Reading before he could debut on the field. The 23-year-old is in his first full season with the Phillies organization after the Rangers traded him in the Cole Hamels deal last summer. He hit .285/.325/.458 with 15 home runs in 435 plate appearances with Reading this year. Also 23, Quinn was in the lineup Sunday. He ranks as the Phillies’ eighth-best prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, and also hadn’t gotten past the Double-A level previously. Quinn batted .287/.361/.441 with six homers and 31 stolen bases in 322 PAs with Reading this season.
- Reds righty Alfredo Simon will undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery Tuesday, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. That ends a miserable campaign for Simon, who posted a 9.36 ERA, 5.98 K/9 and 4.76 BB/9 in 58 2/3 innings. Simon was a highly productive member of the Reds’ pitching staff from 2012-14, when he combined for a 3.16 ERA, 6.16 K/9 and 2.71 BB/9 in 345 frames and even earned an All-Star appearance, but he began falling off last year with the Tigers. The Reds, who acquired infielder Eugenio Suarez from Detroit for Simon in December 2014, brought the 35-year-old back in March on a $2MM salary. He’ll once again hit free agency during the upcoming offseason.