Watching Miami Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi overpower the Giants on Sunday afternoon was an eye-opener on several levels. For one, I began to wonder if the team actually fines anyone who takes a first pitch in back-to-back at-bats. But mostly I had to ask myself, why don’t the Giants have guys with arms like that?
Perhaps you’ve noticed, but these days the Orange and Black are nearly devoid of pitchers, starters or otherwise, who can simply reach back and throw one by a hitter. Let me first say that I am well aware that velocity by itself is pretty useless against big league hitters, and on the list of things I would preach to pitchers it would sit comfortably behind location and the ability to change speeds effectively. That said, like home run power, velocity can be a great equalizer and overcome certain deficiencies a pitcher may have.
In the case of a guy like Eovaldi, whose calling card is not pinpoint control and command, it means he can get away with mistakes here and there and still get people out. Should he ever harness his stuff and combine the mid-to-high 90’s velocity with the ability to hit his spots consistently, look out. Worst case scenario, he never gets it all together and slips easily into a relief role where the fastball plays up and he’s only forced to face a hitter once a game at the most. Either way, that’s a valuable big league arm.
For all the accolades showered upon the Giants pitching staff over the last several years, and they have been fantastic, they do not have a single arm on their roster that even approaches Eovaldi’s. It’s a hard truth to swallow, but a truth nonetheless.