Phillies 2019 season preview: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola
What will Aaron Nola’s 2019 season look like?
Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system projects Aaron Nola to win just 13 games, which feels extremely low given the Phillies’ improvements on offense and Nola’s success last year. They’re also projecting his ERA to tick up to 3.13, which is still respectable, with a 1.08 WHIP.
Baseball Reference uses the “Marcels projection system” to project a player’s performance, and those numbers reflect similarly to Baseball Prospectus. They also project Nola to win 13 games with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.098 WHIP.
Those projection systems primarily track past performance and considering Nola only won six games in 2017 with a 4.78 ERA it’s easy to see how those numbers are skewed.
I expect at least 15 wins from Nola in 2019, which would make him the first pitcher since Kyle Kendrick(!) from 2012-14 to win double-digit games for Philadelphia in three consecutive years.
While beating a name like Kendrick isn’t something that’ll earn you a spot on the Wall of Fame, it’s a tremendous improvement for a rotation that’s seen the likes of Jerome Williams, Jeremy Hellickson, and many other horrendous arms over the last seven years.
Nola is the face of Philadelphia’s pitching staff, and I project him to have another outstanding season. An ERA under three isn’t out of the question once again for Nola and a second-consecutive All-Star appearance, the first back-to-back All-Star appearance for a Phillie since Cole Hamels in 2011-12.
Given the upgrades provided this offseason by Matt Klentak and the rest of Philadelphia’s front office, and assuming health, Nola should have another Cy Young caliber campaign backed by one of the best offenses in baseball.