Over the offseason, we took some heat for saying that Ivan Nova was overrated and overhyped, and that the Yankees should sell high.

With a 5.69 ERA at the close of Saturday’s game versus Cincinnati, it’s obviously too late to sell high on the “best pitcher in the world.”

To the contrary, we’d be buying low on Nova now because he’s pitched much better than his bloated ERA suggests. Check out the improvement in these various ‘missing bats’ categories:

If you saw these numbers without knowing who they belonged to, you would never guess they are from a pitcher pushing an ERA close to 6. That’s why Nova’s xFIP entering Saturday’s game was a solid 3.78.

While it’s no secret that Nova is pitching higher in the zone resulting in less groundballs, we 100% disagree that he’s in a slump (which is being said on Lohud). How can you think you’re in a slump after you K 12 hitters? Don’t change a thing, Ivan.

There’s two numbers that jump off the page to explain Nova’s high ERA — both of which will not continue. First, nearly 20% of his flyballs are leaving the yard. That will not continue. Second, his BABIP is a whopping .380, which is 3rd-highest among all MLB starters! There’s no way that continues.

Flyballs are indeed problem in the lifeless joke that is the new Yankee Stadium, and if Nova wants to adjust anything, maybe he pays extra attention to keeping the ball low there. Overall though, he’s made huge strides in missing bats, and if we were his pitching coach (as opposed to overweight jobless virgins), we’d be telling him to keep doing what he’s doing. He was definitely overrated and lucky in 2011, but he’s the opposite now in 2012. We’re buying low on Ivan at these levels.