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Ivan Nova's new approach may not work for every pitcher, but Nova's not the type to just hang around.

Jay-Z once said, “Loiterers should be arrested.” Does Ivan Nova feel the same way? The transitive property—Nova and Jay-Z both attend plenty of Yankees games—suggests that he might; so too does Nova’s unwavering commitment to self-improvement. ESPN’s Jorge Arangure Jr. detailed Nova’s upbringing earlier this season and concluded that the pitcher’s success is miraculous. Not often does a gangly strike-thrower’s evolution merit talk about divine intervention, but then, not often does a story play out as the one Nova is writing.  Consider Nova’s unlikely ascent: from a failed Rule 5 pick to major-league starter that went 20 regular season starts between losses within three years.

How do you explain Nova’s rise without backfitting a narrative to results? The handy explanation is that Nova worked harder than the other players did. Convenient, but difficult to buy into because countless players work hard and never find success. One attribute that does help explain Nova’s success is an uncanny ability to adapt. Arangure included a story about Nova’s first time with the cutter. Here is the notable anecdote:

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Blow-by-blow recap of the incredible scouting video of top international prospect Yoenis Cespedes

I knew I was in for something special once I saw the email.

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What do we know about catching?

Ed. note: the following article appeared in Baseball Prospectus 1999.

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