Top 3 SF Giants starting pitching targets by ground ball rate
3. Nathan Eovadli - 47.0 percent ground ball rate
There are a lot of good options in free agency this winter including Chris Bassitt, Ross Stripling, Jameson Taillon, and Carlos Rodón. However, it is hard to ignore that Nathan Eovaldi still flashes a mid-90's fastball and does a lot of what the Giants like in a pitcher.
Eovaldi attacks the strike zone while recording a high number of strikeouts. However, he gets a fair number of ground balls as well. The Giants archetype for a pitcher is one who tallies a lot of strikeouts and ground balls while limiting walks. Eovaldi is that pitcher.
The 11-year veteran finished off another solid season with the Boston Red Sox. He signed a four-year, $68 million pact with the Red Sox after the 2018 season and he lived up to the expectations of that contract.
The right-handed starter produced a 3.87 ERA, 4.30 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, and a 5.15 SO/W ratio in 20 starts for Boston. This included a 47.0 percent ground ball rate. Oddly enough, Eovaldi had the second-highest home run rate in baseball at 1.73 HR/9.
Despite getting so many ground outs, the righty evidently left pitches in the the middle of the strike zone at too high of a frequency. The spike in home runs is trend that spans multiple seasons, so teams will be concerned. However, would a move to the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park help with that? It is certainly possible.
Similar to Chris Bassitt, Eovaldi's age might be a factor that appeals to the Giants. The veteran will be entering his age-33 season in 2023, so he will not be in the market for a five-year deal like Carlos Rodón. Bassitt and Eovaldi both have a stable track record, so they will have plenty of interest in free agency.
On paper, Eovaldi is a fit for the Giants. However, the high home run rate is enough to make any team think twice. He might be a good fit but he would not come close to replacing the value of Rodón. That might be tough to ask any pitcher to do, but the Giants will need to get creative if the lefty leaves via free agency.