Phillies: Best individual pitching seasons by age
Age 24: Larry Christenson (1978)
Christenson spent less than a year in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut with the Phillies on April 13, 1974. He impressed immediately, allowing only an earned run in a complete-game win. Although he struggled to a 6.35 ERA overall as a 19-year old, the future was bright for the big right-hander.
After seasons of 11 and 13 wins in 1975 and 1976, Christenson elevated his game to a career-high 19 wins in 1977 with five complete games and a shutout in 219 1/3 innings. Although he finished under .500 in 1978, it was arguably the best season of Christenson’s career.
In 33 starts, Christenson has nine complete games and three shutouts among his 13 wins. He logged 228 innings, walking only 47 while striking out 131 with an ERA of 3.24. At just 24 years of age, it appeared Christenson would have a long, productive career ahead of him.
Unfortunately, arm injuries began to become a major issue for Christenson, limiting him to 14 wins and 53 starts over the next three years combined. He had one final full season in 1982, winning nine with an ERA of 3.47 over 223 innings. Christenson retired with 83 wins and a 3.79 ERA in 243 games.
Age 25: Aaron Nola (2018)
Drafted by the Phillies 7th overall in 2014 out of LSU, Aaron Nola made his Major League debut on July 21, 2015 against the Rays. Although he took the loss, Nola allowed only a run on five hits with six strikeouts in six innings. He showed promise, finishing the season 6-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 13 starts.
Nola struggled to a 6-9 mark with a 4.78 ERA in 2016 before breaking through for a 12-win season in 2017. In 27 starts, Nola logged 168 innings, striking out 184. He was poised to be the ace of the staff in 2018, forming a potentially very good duo with Jake Arrieta.
While Arrieta struggled, particularly in the second half of 2018 due to injury, Nola took the reigns and became one of the top starters in the National League. He posted a record of 17-6 with an ERA of 2.37, allowing only 149 hits while striking out 224 in 212 1/3 innings. Nola was recognized for his efforts with a midseason All-Star appearance and third place in the NL Cy Young Award voting.
After 12 more wins and a career-best 229 strikeouts last season, Nola has a career record of 53-35 with 826 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.49 in 771 1/3 innings.