Ivan Nova forced his way into the Number 4 spot of the Yankee rotation by doing his best Chien-Ming Wang impressive this spring. Which got me thinking - How similar are Nova and Wang at this point of their career?
First both players have gone basically unnoticed by Baseball America. Want cracked the Yankee top ten once in 2005. Nova on the other hand has never cracked the Yankee top ten. Wang struggled in AA but blossomed at bit at AAA
AA - 4.36 era, 1.355 WHIP, 9.9 h/9, 6.8 k/9
AAA - 2.58 era, 1.088 whip, 8.0 h/9, 6.5 k/9
Looks like Wang figured out the power of the GB in AAA.
Nova on the other hand excelled in AA (2.36era in '09) and struggled in his first pass at AAA (5.10 era , 1.4 whip, and 5.8 k/9). However, much like Wang something clicked eventually for Nova as last year he lowered his hit rate (8.4 h/9) raised his k rate (7.1 k/9) and lowered his walk rate almost a full batter per 9 to 3.0 bb/9. More clicked for Nova then just realizing the power of a good sinker as is clear by his jump in k rate but the early struggles followed by success sounds just like what happened to Wang.
Now the main difference between Wang and Nova is the walk rate of Wang was much lower in the minors (2.0 bb/9). However, I do think that Nova has similar skills, followed a similar path, and even has a similar build to Wang. So maybe Nova can be the new version of Wang which for a team like the Yankees is extremely valueable.