Monday, November 14, 2011

Nova's year a breakout despite ROY loss

Ivan Nova didn’t win a Rookie of the Year award today, but that loss in no way diminishes his outstanding 2011 campaign.

I’m surprised at Nova’s fourth-place finish in the ROY balloting, with only one first-place vote and 30 points overall, well behind the winner: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (congrats, kid!). I thought Nova would get a lot more support and perhaps become the first member of the New York Yankees to win the ROY since Derek Jeter in 1996 (yes, it has been 15 years since the skinny kid from Kalamazoo took New York by storm).

Nova went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA for a Yankees team that finished with the best regular season record in the American League. He stepped right up to fill a major void to become the Yankees #2 starter behind CC Sabathia after AJ Burnett struggled mightily again and Phil Hughes lost a step because of injuries. I would have liked to have seen Nova rewarded for that.

But in the grand scheme of things, Nova losing the ROY doesn’t really matter. The Yankees will be counting on him to prove that 2011 wasn’t a fluke and that he deserves to be a mainstay in the Yankees rotation for years to come.

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