Phillies 2020 Season Player Grades: Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Aaron Nola had an overall decent season for the Phillies in 2020

Nola faced the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals in each of his next two starts; first, he went seven strong innings — giving up a pair of runs — before throwing even better in the second start with eight scoreless innings.

After then giving up six runs (three earned) against the Mets and pitching his first career shutout (seven innings) against the Marlins, Nola’s season ended poorly. He gave up a combined 13 runs (11 earned) across 15 innings in his last three 2020 season starts, including three earned runs in only 3 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays with postseason hopes on the line.

Nola ended the season with a 5-5 record and 3.28 ERA across 12 starts. He pitched seven or more innings in five games, while going less than six innings in another five. His ERA was as low as 2.05 in mid-August and had four starts with 10 or more strikeouts.

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Despite there being no fans in the stands, there was still a home and away difference for Nola. He recorded a 2.50 ERA and 0.807 WHIP in six starts at Citizens Bank Park, compared to a 4.26 ERA and 1.421 WHIP in six starts on the road.

While Nola was inconsistent this season, he still pitched really well, especially compared to fellow National League starters. His 3.28 ERA was 12th-best, his 1.079 WHIP was ninth-best and his 96 strikeouts were third-best. As for team ranks among Phillies starters, his ERA was second to Wheeler’s 2.92, while he led team starters in WHIP ratio and strikeouts.

Philadelphia Phillies. AARON NOLA. B+. . RHP

Weighing Nola’s ability to strike out batters, along with his seven- or eight-inning gems versus his poor performances at notable times during the season, I’m grading him a B+. Nola’s stats speak volumes, but he couldn’t provide the team with quality outings down the stretch when it mattered most, with a playoff spot on the line.

Nola showed his ability to pitch like an ace at times and that B+ grade would be higher if not for a few bad outings. He still had a good season overall.

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