Dodgers Prospect Eovaldi Continues to March Along
Earlier this week, MILB.com published an article about Dodgers prospect and Chattanooga Lookouts right handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. In this article, Eovaldi himself provided a honest scouting report on, well, himself. What I mean by honest is just that. I don't think he undersells his stuff or oversells his stuff. I've seen Eovaldi pitch at AT&T Field in Chattanooga five times and my scouting report on Eovaldi is very similar to the one in this article. Here are my thoughts, meshed with some of his thoughts.
Fastball: In the two appearances this season I've scouted, he seems to have taken his 2 seam fastball out of heavy rotation. He doesn't seem to miss the pitch in my opinion. His 4 seam fastball has been sitting 94-96 MPH on the gun, touching 97-98. The pitch explodes out of his hand, which Eovaldi points out in his own scouring report. Like most pitchers, when he overthrows the pitch, his natural movement disappears. He has very good command of this pitch, showing the ability to place it where he wants, when he wants. He says it's his best pitch and I think it is too but only slightly better than his out pitch, his slider.
Slider: The thing I like the most about this pitch is Eovaldi's ability to get his slider off of the fastball plane. Most hard throwers I see in the minors tend to get underneath their sliders, which doesn't change the eye level of hitters. Getting underneath the slider makes the pitch virtually ineffective against left handed hitters. As you see in the video clip below, Eovaldi doesn't have that problem. He'll throw his slider effectively to left handed hitters and he will get swings and misses against lefties as well. I've had him clocked this season between 85-87 MPH with this pitch. Like his fastball, his command on this pitch is very good. It's the best command of a slider I've seen from any hard thrower in the minors.
Curve: I have yet to see him throw a good curve. He just can't command it, which he admits to in his own scouting report. It's a below average offering on it's best days.
Change up: Like his curve, this is a below average pitch. He admits to having very little confidence in the pitch. He has a very good velocity drop off from his fastball to his change, about 8 to 10 mph; however, he gives the pitch away, slowing down his motion. This has been more pronounced this season than last. He can't take this pitch to the big leagues and have sustainable success with it.
Eovaldi is essentially a two pitch pitcher and I believe he will be a success as Major Leaguer. I think his niche will be as a hard throwing, late inning reliever. Although I think he's improved his two best pitches, there has been little or no improvement in his curve or change. I think the change has actually regressed some. I'd like to see him ditch one of his two lesser offerings and concentrate on crafting a "Show Me" pitch. He still needs a bit more seasoning but not much. I expect to see him a fixture in LA's bullpen this summer.