3 Top SF Giants starting pitching targets by SO/W ratio
2. Nathan Eovaldi - 5.15 SO/W ratio
There is a short list of pitchers who have returned from multiple Tommy John surgeries and Nathan Eovaldi is among the best in that group. When the right-handed hurler reached free agency after the 2018 season, the Giants were considered a potential landing spot.
I did a lot of research (which I can no longer find) of pitchers who have had multiple Tommy John surgeries and it was a short list. Not only that, but pitchers were rarely as effective or durable especially after the second surgery.
I suggested that he would not be a good fit at the time due in part to that and I was definitely wrong on that one. The 32-year-old inked a four-year, $68 million pact to remain with the Boston Red Sox that winter.
Despite a rough first season in which Eovaldi posted a 5.99 ERA in just 23 appearances, he followed that up with a 3.79 ERA in the ensuing three seasons. The 2022 campaign was a strong year in which he tallied a 3.87 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 8.5 K/9, and a 5.15 SO/W ratio in 20 starts.
The FIP is high and due to a very high 1.7 HR/9 ratio, which ranked as the fourth-worst mark in baseball among starters with a minimum of 100 innings pitched. This is a trend that spans multiple seasons, so some teams are going to be weary. He attacks the strike zone well, but likely sits too much in the zone at times.
With that being said, he still flashes a four-seam fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90's that he pairs with a split finger and a curve ball that have proven to be tough to hit. Opposing hitters recorded just a .181 batting average against the split finger in 2022 to go along with a .197 batting average against the curve ball.
It feels like a change in pitch mix that puts more emphasis on the split finger and curve ball could yield even better results for Eovaldi. Similar to Ross Striping, the veteran starter will be entering his age-33 season in 2023, so there's a ceiling in terms of what to expect in terms of dollars and years.
That might be the type of deal that appeals to the Giants if they miss out on Carlos Rodón. Eovaldi is not a frontline starter anymore, but he gives you a chance to compete each time out while filling up the strike zone.