By Michael Beller
April 03, 2014
Nathan Eovaldi pitched six innings against the Rockies, giving up six hits and two runs.
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Let's start right at the top with his strikeout of Drew Stubbs. Now yes, Stubbs won't be on Joey Votto's level any time soon, but the fact that Eovaldi got one of baseball's most prolific swing-and-miss guys to swing and miss isn't the takeaway here. On a 2-2 count, he paints the outside corner with a 98 mph heater, and Stubbs doesn't have a chance. If he misses with this pitch, he goes full and likely has to use the middle of the plate to ensure that he doesn't walk a dangerous baserunner. The fact that Eovaldi is willing to pick at the corner in this situation is a sign of how much he has grown as a pitcher and the lengths to which he has harnessed his stuff. Ninety-eight on the black is going to get you a lot of whiffs. That's step one for Eovaldi -- not just throwing gas, but putting it where he wants it.

Against the Rockies, Nathan Eovaldi showed off his developed pitching repertoire.
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Eovaldi was strong all game. His first fastball clocked in at 98 mph, and his last one got up to 96. He threw almost all fastballs and sliders, though he did mix in the occasional curve and changeup. It would be nice to see him develop that change a bit more -- he threw it just 1.7 percent of the time last year -- to use against lefties, but he was able to mix his fastball and slider effectively against a pretty strong lineup in the Rockies. The fastball establishes his high strikeout ceiling, but it's the secondary pitches and newfound command that will ultimately get him to there. One start into the year, he appears to be well on his way to that ceiling.

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