Not since Larry have I seen a Nance throw down two balls with the ferocity of Cubs right reliever Tommy. That’s Tommy Nance in case my esoteric reference fell flat. The former independent ball hurler has been virtually untouchable over seven appearances this season, allowing no runs while striking out eight with two walks and two hits allowed.
As Lance Brozdowski of Marquee Sports Network tweeted Monday, Nance’s combination of spin and movement is pretty much unmatched in Major League Baseball.
Tommy Nance might have the best pure "stuff" in the #Cubs bullpen.
Only one other curve in MLB thrown >85 mph gets as much drop as he gets.
No slider in MLB thrown >88mph gets as much drop as he gets.
Both spinning ~2,900 rpm & he's throwing 60% fastballs? Mix change coming?🤔 pic.twitter.com/mBBBLkuNlJ
— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) May 31, 2021
And we haven’t even mentioned the heat, which comes in around 97 mph and explodes on hitters with late life. The sinker, which my son referred to as “a two-seam-and-a-half” while marveling at Nance’s put-away pitch Monday afternoon, is particularly wicked.
The movement on this pitch 🤢 pic.twitter.com/14j3ZWOiJ8
— MLB (@MLB) May 31, 2021
That’s what I call…Nancety.
Brozdowski noted that a change to Nance’s mix might be in order given the heavy reliance on hard stuff, which has accounted for over 65% of his pitches so far, but why fix what ain’t broke? Then again, there’s something to be said for being variable as the league gets a bigger book on you. What’s clear is that Nance has multiple weapons that can be deployed in a variety of ways, something that should help him avoid heavy correction.
You have to love seeing the Cubs not only getting competent performances from homegrown pitchers, but having them pitch their way into high-leverage situations. Nance is just one of a group that includes Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele, among others, who are rewriting the story — or at least adding a new chapter — of the Cubs’ developmental woes.