What Nathan Eovaldi means for the Texas Rangers pitching (and more)

(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers have continued to come through on their promises this offseason by attacking good pitching and Nathan Eovaldi becomes another significant piece of the Rangers machine by signing a 2 year $34 Million contract, continuing to stack up the starting rotation of the Texas  Rangers.

The Texas Rangers have their rotation filled out with the addition of Nathan Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi 2022 stats: 109.1 IP, 3.87 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 103 Ks

Eovaldi shipped off to Boston at the 2018 trade deadline where he excelled for the Red Sox and was a crucial piece of their World Series win in 2018. As a result, the Sox gave him 4 years $68 Million where he was an above-league-average pitcher with a 4.15 ERA and a 3.84 FIP. These numbers are suppressed by his lackluster 2022 hindered by just over two months of IL time due to lower back and right shoulder inflammation.

What should not be lost on readers is his fantastic 2021 campaign where he finished 4th in Cy Young voting as well as an All-Star nod. His 2022 injuries seem to have tanked his previous perceived value as injuries have been a recurring theme for Eovaldi with four separate IL stints with the Red Sox alone.

This value has real potential to pay off in a big way as Eovaldi was the 9th-highest-paid pitcher this offseason in terms of AAV (Average Annual Value). This is behind our very own Martin Perez and Chris Bassit, who are solid big-league pitchers but are not $2-4 million better.

So what does Eovaldi bring to the table?

He pounds the zone. In his last three seasons, Eovaldi has had a sub 4.6% walk rate with ranked 8th among pitchers last season (min. 100 IP). This can only help out a staff who was tied with the Kansas City Royals for the 2nd highest BB% (9.4).

Before his injury, Eovaldi had a plus fastball that sat around 98 mph where he then saw a drop to 95 mph. Now, this might be cause for concern but this 98 mph fastball came after a 2017 Tommy John surgery where he got back right to the velocity numbers he had pre-surgery for the Miami Marlins.

Typically high-velocity numbers such as his correlate to high strikeout numbers but Eovaldi is a rare case and is instead just below league average in the 46th percentile (22.4%). Instead, they provide a lot of home runs where he was 4th in the league in HR/9 at 1.73. This is due to both his high velocity but also his remarkably low walk rate.

When you pound the zone more often it also provides a higher chance of getting burned. Fortunately for Eovaldi, Globe Life is much kinder to pitchers than Fenway Park is according to Statcast. Globe Life is 19th in park factor for hitters whereas Fenway is ranked 3rd, likely due to the Green Monster which creates far more double and triple opportunities.

Eovaldi also seems to turn into an entirely different pitcher once the postseason rolls around with a 3.16 postseason ERA which is greatly inflated by a tough 2021 ALCS against the Astros. In the Wild Card, he hosts a 1.69 ERA, Divisional Series a 2.25, and in the World Series a 1.13. For a team with clear championship aspirations, this is a great presence as a guy who has been there before and done it on multiple occasions (43 IP).

There are still areas of improvement, but the glaring weaknesses have diminished since the final pitch of the ’22 World Series. The corner outfield position still needs to be addressed with RosterResource projecting Josh Smith to fill in at the left field spot for the Texas Rangers.

Smith is not a terrible option to start and he has plenty of room to improve but throwing him right into the fold might not be the best idea considering his .197 AVG in 2022. Despite the offseason being well underway, some solid role players are in the pool. Namely Jurickson Profar and Adam Duvall. Anyone beyond them is not worth starting over Smith but can be added for some solid depth pieces.

The projected starting rotation is as follows:

  1. Jacob DeGrom
  2. Martin Perez
  3. Jon Gray
  4. Nathan Eovaldi
  5. Andrew Heaney

A whole lot better than what we saw to start last season. The 40-man roster is essentially set and Spring Training on February 24th is right around the corner.

Sports Dallas Fort-Worth
Sports Dallas Fort-Worth /

Want your voice heard? Join the Sports Dallas Fort-Worth team!

Write for us!

This offseason has served as a legitimate building block of the progress the Texas Rangers made the last offseason and they will be a team looking to compete in 2023 and beyond.