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Bullish or Bearish – Aaron Nola

By Matthew Kirkeby - 7 years ago in MLB News

Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola is Showing Promise

Nola was a solid prospect coming up, but scouts were thinking more like a good number three or four starter.  His fastball sits at 91 mph, which is major league average, and he only had one good pitch- a wicked curve.  But one thing that stats and scouts have trouble quantifying is the importance of control, and that is an area where Nola excels. He is sporting a sparkling 2.38 BB/9, through the minors and about 200 major league innings.

After an intriguing 2015 debut, including a 3.59 ERA with a 2.20 BB/9, Nola’s peripherals in 2016 suggested even bigger potential, adding an excellent 9.81 K/9 to that reliable plus control and increased his Groundball % to an excellent 55.2%. Both FIP and xFIP suggest that those metrics are indicative of a 3.08 ERA.  Further, Nola ended the season with an injury, that forced him out for the last 2 months of 2016.  Often times, pitchers try to pitch through injuries and it shows in their performances.  Through June 5, Aaron Nola was sitting on a 2.65 ERA, justified by a 2.75 FIP, with an even more impressive than his usual 1.78 BB/9.  Not long after that start is when questions about his health started coming up, including a missed start or two.  He finished the season with a misleading 4.78 ERA and a 2.35 BB/9.

Aaron Nola

His third pitch, a change up, has shown plus results in four starts this year.  It’s a little early to assert correlation, but that may be driving another year of improving swinging strike %.  If that is foretelling real improvement through a more stable sample size, Nola could flash ace level upside.

I am BULLISH on Aaron Nola. 


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