Nova doesn’t win Rookie of the Year but Yankees fans know his worth
Added by Elizabeth DiPietro on November 14, 2011.
The 2011 American League Rookie of the Year was announced on Monday and much to Yankee fans’ chagrin, it was not Ivan Nova.
The illustrious title went to Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays. Hellickson ended the season with a 13-10 record, which was bested by Nova’s 16-4. However, the Rays righthander outpitched Nova in ERA, innings pitched, and opposing batting average, which some might say are the more telling stats because they give a purer picture of a pitcher’s performance without factoring in help from his offense.
Nova finished fourth in the voting behind Hellickson, Mark Trumbo of the Angels, and Eric Hosner of the Royals.
Although many Yankee fans– myself included–are no doubt disappointed that Nova didn’t come away with the title, there is a bigger triumph to celebrate. The 24-year-old firmly established himself as the Yankees’ premier Number 2 starter, in a season wrought with injuries and plagued by A.J. Burnett-itis. As they look ahead to 2012, the Yankees appear to be very fortunate to have the reliable Nova, considering the dearth of formidable starting pitcher free agents this offseason.
In addition to pitching like an All-Star, Nova was also a class act this season. When Phil Hughes returned from the disabled list in July to reclaim his spot in the rotation, Nova was demoted to Triple A. Rather than complaining, he chose to fine-tune his craft in the minors without a hint of a sense of entitlement. He returned at the end of July and went on to post a 12-0 record in his final 16 games, forcing manager Joe Girardi into utilizing a six-man rotation for the majority of the rest of the season.
Despite his inexperience in the big leagues, Nova turned out to be the most consistent starter after ace CC Sabathia. His huge season exceeded all expectations he and his family, whom he
left behind in the Dominican Republic, had for the season.
Their goal for him? Double-digit wins. Suffice it to say, he shattered their prediction. Nova had so many huge performances this season that it became commonplace, almost tiring, to see the headline “Super Nova” on the back page of the Daily News.
“They’re really happy,” Nova said on Yankees.com, referring to his family. “They wanted 10. I told them, ‘I don’t want 10. I don’t think 10 is enough.”
As for 2012, the Yankees will soon begin to piece together the rest of their rotation. They recently cemented Sabathia for the next five years, who wound up looking like the most noble multi-millionaire in history for not opting out of his contract with the Yankees. Girardi has also said that he expects Hughes to be in the rotation in some capacity next season. General manager Brian Cashman, who just signed his own three-year deal, has expressed interest in keeping Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon in the Bronx next season as well. He is also reportedly in early talks with free agent C.J. Wilson.
Yankee fans will surely be content with Cashman testing the free agent waters, as it is what he does best. But our true feeling is that we love our homegrown heroes best.
Ivan Nova, we tip our caps to you. Like your family, we have big plans for you.