Eric Longenhagen likes Nance
Tommy Nance, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Level & Affiliate: MLB Age: 30 Org Rank: TBD FV: 40+
Line: 1 IP, 1 K
Nance is another Indy Ball signee who had a velo spike during the off year (read about Max Bain here), but unlike Bain, whose affiliated career just began this year, he has had a longer runway. He signed out of the independent Frontier League early in 2016 and pitched in the middle levels of the Cubs’ system for nearly half a decade before showing way bigger velocity this year. He was 91–94 in 2019 but got up to 97–98 during his single-inning big league debut. Nance made one fantastic start at Triple-A Iowa (6 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 10 K) before the call-up. As a starter, he was more 94–96 and topping out at 97, really only throwing his mid-80s power slurve apart from the fastball. His heater has big tailing action and is capable of running off the hips of lefty batters and back over the plate.
As I wrote regarding Julian Merryweather on the Blue Jays list, just because this guy is 30 doesn’t mean he’s not a prospect. He’s rookie-eligible, has roster flexibility, and is under team control the same as any young player. He’s also a pitcher who clearly has immediate big league bullpen utility. The likelihood of age-related decline during his year of team control does complicate where he falls on the FV scale, since I care about all six or seven of those years, but teams need to decide how they value a guy like this versus a more traditional prospect, so I will, too. Would you rather have Nance or Anderson Espinoza right now? Or Jay Groome? If either of those younger arms were to end up sitting 97-plus with an upper-80s hammer breaking ball out of the bullpen, we’d think it was a great outcome given what they have dealt with on the way there. Well, Nance is that right now.