Aaron Nola‘s career is still quite young, but he just put together one of the best seasons by any pitcher in the team’s history. He could quickly climb the ranks once his career is in the books.
Nola rose quickly through the minors, making his major-league debut just over a year after being selected No. 7 overall in 2014. He started off his career well with a 3.59 ERA, 68 strikeouts, 19 walks, 107 ERA+ and 1.197 WHIP in 13 starts.
The 2016 season started off well for Nola, but his season ended on the disabled list with an elbow strain. The worst was feared as the possibility of Tommy John surgery was thrown around, but he was able to avoid it and return to the team healthy in 2017. Nola returned to his level of production from his rookie year with a 3.54 ERA and 1.208 WHIP in 27 starts.
Everything came together for Nola in 2018, as he entered the upper echelon of pitchers in the league. In 33 starts, he had a 2.37 ERA, 3.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 0.975 WHIP, 175 ERA+, 224 strikeouts and 212.1 innings pitched. Nola led all major-league pitchers with 10.5 wins above replacement. He earned his first of what should be many All-Star appearances and finished third in NL Cy Young voting.
Nola’s 10.5 pitching wins above replacement were tied for seventh-most in franchise history and second-most in the live ball era. Steve Carlton is the only Phillie in the live ball with a better season in terms of WAR than Nola. His 2018 season also ranks fourth in ERA+ and seventh in WHIP in franchise history.
When we look back at Nola’s career, his 2018 season will stand out in what should be a long track record of success for the young righty.