#2 Nathan Eovaldi - Texas Rangers starting pitcher
It is hard to imagine how the Rangers would be different without the offseason addition of Nathan Eovaldi. Here is a hint at the number one ranked offseason signing, no player signing has had a greater impact on the team than that of the native Texan.
When a team loses their ace, they usually just don't have an ace. For the Rangers, when deGrom went down to injury, Eovaldi stepped up his already radiant game. Hailing from Alvin, TX, he conjures up images of Nolan Ryan, coming into Arlington and helping lift the spirits and hopes of a floundering Rangers team.
Eovaldi's numbers this season are spectacular. In 13 starts and 86 2/3 innings pitched, he is 9-2, has 83 strikeouts, 17 walks, a 2.49 ERA, and a 0.981 WHIP. He has put himself squarely in the middle of the AL Cy Young race.
What is even more impressive is how he raised his level of play when deGrom went down. In that time period, Eovaldi has started eight games and pitched 59 innings, he is 7-0, has 52 strikeouts, 12 walks, a 1.22 ERA, and a batting average of .168. Instead of weakening under the pressure, he has elevated his performances. Two of the efforts were complete games, with one of those being a shutout of the Yankees the day after deGrom got hurt.
When CY signed Eovaldi to his two-year, $34 million contract, he knew that he was getting a good pitcher. What he actually got is a great pitcher and a great teammate. The level of interest that he shows for his fellow Rangers is unprecedented. If things keep trending the way that they currently are, the addition of Eovaldi will go down as one of the best free agent signings in Texas Rangers' history.