Ivan Nova was finally jettisoned from New York at the trade deadline, a tenure that was above-average at best and groan-worthy at worst. He put together a decent 95 ERA+ across seven major league seasons, and for that we as fans are relatively grateful. He has turned it around in August, pitching to a 2.87 ERA in 31.1 innings. Good for him, because he sure as heck wasn’t doing that in the Bronx.
Nova did give the Yankees one more thing, though. When he was traded, it was stated at the time that the Yankees would be able to choose from a list of players that the Pirates provided—also known as players to be named later. The Yankees finally released the names, and they are pitcher Stephen Tarpley and outfielder Tito Polo.
First off, these are great names. I don’t mean prospects; I mean their names are amazing. I’m hoping Polo makes the major leagues so we can make Pinstripe Alley Tito Polo polo shirts.
Joking aside, this is a pretty good return. Tarpley, 23, is a left-hander who was drafted by the Orioles in the third round of the 2013 draft and was ranked as the 17th best prospect in the Pirates’ system. He has a hard fastball, a couple of fringe breaking pitches, and ground ball tendencies. It’s a classic case where the real work will be done in player development, but that was always going to be the case in a return for someone like Nova.
Polo, 22, is an outfielder who was signed out of Colombia in 2012. He doesn’t have size on his side (he’s just five feet nine inches tall), but he generates decent enough contact from the right side. All of his tools grade as average or a tick below average, so he likely profiles as a fourth outfielder. He cracked Pittsburgh’s top 30 prospects at number 27. You can find both of these players’ full scouting reports at MLB.com.
Overall this is a solid return for someone who likely offered minimal value in the short-term with his team control set to expire at the end of the season. Sure, one could make the argument that he would have been useful with the team just a few games out of Wild Card contention, but there was no way to predict how well the team has played this past month.
More likely than not, holding on to him would have been sitting on a diminishing asset. Now the Yankees have two players who they think they can develop into big league players. It’s a nice way to top off the trade deadline returns, and Yankees fans will look forward to hearing of their successes down the road.