Nola Gets His Shot
By Matt Veasey
For fans of the Phillies who were upset when top pitching prospect Aaron Nola was not offered an invitation to spring training with the big club, your wish is being granted. Well, sort of.
On Friday, Nola will pull on a Phils uniform and take the mound at Bright House Field, making the 1:05pm Grapefruit League start against the New York Yankees.
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With the game at the Phillies spring home of Clearwater, Florida, it is very likely that Nola will glance around and see Ryan Howard at 1st base, Chase Utley at 2nd base, and then look in at Carlos Ruiz giving him the signals from behind the plate.
“To learn as much as I can, from anybody I can” ~ Nola, on his spring goal
The fact that all of this will take place against the legendary Yankees franchise should make it all the more of an exciting outing for the 21-year old. And Phillies fans will get to join in on the excitement, as the game is scheduled to be televised back to Philadelphia on The Comcast Network.
As most of those fans are already well aware, Nola was the Phils top pick in last year’s Amateur Draft, the 7th overall selection out of LSU. He has since been ranked by numerous resources as the club’s top pitching prospect, and is considered a Top 40 overall prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America.
After being drafted last June, Nola signed in time to make a dozen appearances split almost evenly between High-A Clearwater and AA-Reading. In 11 starts, he went 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA, allowing 49 hits in 55.1 innings, with a 45-10 K:BB ratio.
Back in early March, Ryan Lawrence spoke to Nola for Philly.com and asked his goals for both the spring: “To learn as much as I can, from anybody I can“, and for the season to come: “To stay as healthy as I can as long as I can, for the whole year. That’s my biggest goal.”
They way that young pitching goes down in this day and age, that is certainly a most worthy goal for the young man who is such a vital part of the team’s future. It is expected that Nola could potentially pitch his way to Philly as soon as the 2nd half of this 2015 season. That road begins on Friday.