Philadelphia Phillies’ First Round Draft Pick Aaron Nola to Make Professional Debut


FINALLY. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

After most of the Phillies’ other top 10 picks in the 2014 Draft have already made their debut, the number seven overall pick will finally make his first professional start. RHP Aaron Nola, a candidate for National Pitcher of the Year for his junior season at LSU, will report to High-A Clearwater on Monday for his professional debut.

Announced by Phillies’ Director of Player Development, Joe Jordan, on CSN Philly’s radio pre-game show, the move puts Nola ahead of other picks on the development schedule.

2nd-round pick LHP Matt Imhof and 4th-round pick RHP Chris Oliver are each beginning in the Gulf Coast rookie league, and 3rd-round pick CF Aaron Brown is beginning in short-season A Williamsport.

The move doesn’t come as a surprise – Nola has routinely been described as a quick-mover who could be the fastest to impact the majors of his draft class. I compiled scouting reports on both Nola and Imhof the day after the draft, but at LSU this season, Aaron had a 1.47 ERA, with 5.43 H/9, 0.31 HR/9, 2.09 BB/9, and 10.37 K/9 in 116.1 IP.

Nola’s arrival makes Clearwater an even more interesting team from a prospect perspective. After beginning the year with no significant names, in recent weeks the team has become one of the main attractions of the system.

The formerly interesting RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez made his professional debut there a few weeks into the season, and top 10 prospect SS Roman Quinn returned from injury several weeks ago.

He then changed position to CF as top position prospect J.P. Crawford was promoted to occupy shortstop, and now top pitcher Aaron Nola looks to cement his prospect status in the second half of the season.

Clearwater plays the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Monday night at 7:05. Nola will face Venezuelan Yorfrank Lopez (71.0 IP, 4.56 ERA) at Joker Merchant Stadium in Lakeland.