A look at the final numbers from 2018 and the 2019 projections and fantasy impact of the Phillies most relevant fantasy player, Aaron Nola.
Aaron Nola is the most fantasy-relevant player on the Phillies, regardless of what happens in the rest of the off-season. Nola was an ace for his team and the fantasy players who drafted him. Here’s a look at what he accomplished last season and a fantasy preview for 2019.
Aaron Nola the biggest fantasy contributor from Philadelphia, experiencing a breakout season. In his breakout, Nola finished the season third in National League Cy Young voting behind Max Scherzer and award winner Jacob DeGrom. Nola finished the season 17-8 with 224 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings.
Despite pitching in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball, Nola was still dominant in Citizen’s Bank Park, posting a 10-2 record with a 2.34 ERA. Nola’s biggest strength was his ability to limit extra-base hits, allowing a .311 slugging percentage against.
More from Phillies News
- Does Bailey Falter have a future in Phillies’ rotation?
- Bryce Harper’s absence should lead to Phillies lineup tinkering
- Pirates’ bizarre Vince Velasquez hype video will make Phillies fans laugh
- Acquiring Brandon Marsh gave the Phillies flexibility
- Former Phillies starter Zach Eflin shares heartwarming goodbye message
There are projections for Nola from Baseball Reference, Baseball Prospectus, and Fangraphs. All three see Nola regressing some from his outstanding season, which is understandable coming off of a breakout year. B-Ref and BP both have Nola projected to go 13-8. B-Ref has Nola posting a 3.15 ERA, compared to 3.13 from BP. Fangraphs has the Phillies ace going 14-9 with a 3.19 ERA.
All three projections have Nola under 200 innings, but posting more than a strikeout per inning.
I understand the logic of Nola expecting a slight regression, but there have been significant defensive upgrades to counteract that. The club replaced Hoskins’ horrendous left field defense with Andrew McCutchen and replaced J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery at shortstop with Jean Segura. The only negative for Nola was losing the framing ability from common battery-mate Jorge Alfaro, which was especially noticeable because of Nola’s ability to paint the corner with all of his pitches.
I still believe Nola will be a top seven starting pitcher in fantasy, specifically in standard rotisserie leagues where he can add 200+ Ks, 15+ wins, a sub 1.10 WHIP, and a sub-3.00 ERA. He may be even more valuable in a points league, where pitchers tend to dominate scoring.
If I was drafting tomorrow I would take Nola in the late second to early-middle third round, fully capable of anchoring a fantasy pitching staff if you go heavy offense in the first two rounds.