Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Preview: Nathan Eovaldi

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The Syndicate's Red Sox Writers and Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later hosts will be profiling a different Red Sox player each day to get you ready for the 2021 season.

Today's featured player: Nathan Eovaldi

Eovaldi became the de facto ace of the Red Sox staff in 2020 after the losses of Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez to COVID.  Eovaldi started nine games in the shortened season, going 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA.

Photo courtesy of nesn.com


Back of the baseball card:


  • Position: Pitcher
  • Age: 31
  • Bats: Right / Throws: Right
  • Height: 6-2 / Weight: 217 lbs.
  • Nickname: n/a
  • How acquired: Acquired from the Tamp Bay Rays on July 25, 2018.  Re-signed as a free agent after the 2018 season.
  • Contract status: Signed through 2023

2020 Highlights: 

  • Eovaldi was given the Opening Day start against the Orioles at Fenway and threw six innings allowing only one run and striking out four and cruised to his first win of the season in a 13-2 blowout.
  • Threw seven innings of five hit ball on August 20th against the O’s, giving up one run and striking out six in a 7-1 win over the Birds.
  • Closed the season with five innings of shutout ball against the Marlins on September 17th, striking out seven, before finishing the season with six shutout innings and striking out eight against the Orioles on September 23rd for his third and fourth wins of the season. 

Red Sox Podcast to be Named Player Outlook:

Eovaldi has been an enigma throughout his career, and there is no indication that will change in 2021.  He flashes nearly unhittable stuff at times, sporting a fastball that can hit 102 MPH.  On other occasions he can be hit hard.  His blazing fastball also does not translate into high strikeout totals, as he sports a career 7.1 K/9 rate.  His K/9 of 9.7 in 2020 was the highest of his career, but would have ranked only 16th in the MLB had he pitched enough innings to qualify.

Injuries have long been an issue for Eovaldi.  He has only thrown more than 150 innings twice in his career, and has not had any since he threw 154 innings with the Yankees in 2015.  Eovaldi missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016, and in both 2018 and 2019 he spent time on the injured list with “loose bodies” in his surgically repaired right elbow.  In the shortened 2020 season he still landed on the IL for three weeks with a right calf strain.

The Red Sox will need Eovaldi to assume the role of number two starter and remain healthy at least until the return of Chris Sale, which is expected to occur sometime around the All- Star Break.  When he was re-signed after the 2018 World Series, he was slotted as a number four starter behind Sale, E-Rod, and David Price.  If Eovaldi is your number four you have a good staff.  As a two or a three, you’ve got problems.

 

 

 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Preview: Nathan Eovaldi
Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Preview: Nathan Eovaldi
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