2014 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper: SP Ivan Nova
The New York Yankees have made some serious changes heading into the 2014 fantasy baseball season. They made news around the world by signing Japanese hurler, Masahiro Tanaka to a massive $155 million contract. The team also re-signed aging starter Hiroki Kuroda and it has been reported that starter C.C. Sabathia has come into camp much lighter than in previous seasons.
However, most fantasy fans are forgetting about the rest of the team’s rotation, mainly Ivan Nova.
Nova posted career numbers across the board during the 2013 season. He finished with a glimmering 3.10 ERA and recorded a career-best WAR of 3.5. He struck out 116 batters through 139.1 innings of work and ended becoming a decent free agent pickup midway through last season.
The righty finished with a meager 9-6 record, but it was simply a result of the team’s aging offense in 2013. The Bronx Bombers will be back in action this season after signing C Brian McCann, OF Carlos Beltran, and OF Jacoby Ellsbury. The team will have much better run support throughout the 2014 season, and as a result, fantasy fans can expect Nova to receive much more run support.
Over the last couple years, the Dominican has shockingly become a decent strikeout pitcher. He struck out 7.49 K /9 last year alone and the six-foot-four pitcher can be very intimidating on the bump. The 27-year-old has a deadly breaking curveball that he uses as his money pitch and he is on the verge of having his first 160-strikeout season.
Nova will likely see a small uptick in his ERA, but he should rival his career-high in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts in 2014. If you are looking for a sleeper to fill out your rotation this spring, don’t forget to circle Nova on your cheat sheets.