Many questions surrounded Nola after his 2016 season came to an abrupt end due to an elbow injury.
No one really knew what to expect this season as Nola attempted to bounce back from an injury. But the former LSU star has answered all of those questions and given the team a future top of the rotation starter for the future.
Nola was 2-0 in the month of April but saw a drop off in the month of May when he went 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA.
But since June 22, we’ve seen a different Nola.
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One not many even thought we’d see at any point in his career. Nola has always been known for his wipeout curveball, but this season his fastball velocity has increased to a consistent 94-96 mph. His two-seam fastball has also become a key strikeout pitch against right-handed hitters as it cuts over the outside corner at the last second.
The pitch that he’s really developed this season has been his changeup, however.
It’s become a key strikeout pitch for him against lefties, but it’s also been a pitch he’s used to get ahead in the count against righties.
The Nola we saw in the month of July is the pitcher the Phillies will hope to continue to see for years to come. His 1.32 ERA during his five starts in July was the best in the National League among starting pitchers. The best stat from that month, however, was his strikeout-to-walk ration, which was over five.
When the Phillies drafted Nola in the first round back in 2014, many thought of him as a safe pick that was guaranteed to be at the very least a solid third starter.
But this year, Nola has ascended into a potential ace for the Phillies with increased velocity on his fastball and a new wipeout changeup.