For Aaron Nola, he has been the bread and butter of the Phillies’ starting rotation since he made his debut with the club back in 2015. The former first-round pick of the 2014 MLB Draft was also an All-Star and NL Cy Young finalist back in 2018 with the ballclub. Overall, he has been one of the most consistent and reliable pitchers for the Phillies in the past decade.
However for the 2023 season, Nola has had quite the roller coaster year, with a good mixture of impressive starts together with some mediocre ones. For the season, he has pitched to a 12-9 record with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, with 202 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings in 32 starts.
In retrospect, the stats reveal that it was still a somewhat solid season for Nola. However, of greater concern is the fact that he gave up the most home runs in a season for his career with 32, along with the fact that his strikeout rate per nine innings has fallen below double digits for the first time since 2018 to 9.4.
Looking more at his advanced statistical metrics, the average exit velocity and hard-hit rate increased from the previous season, along with a decrease in whiff rate. So in a nutshell, Nola was starting to get hit hard during this season, which isn’t a good sign for someone entering the wrong side of 30.
So he may have had a successful winning season with the Phillies in 2023, but red flags have been raised on whether he can continue to pitch as effectively heading into his next contract as he hits free agency after the current season. As a result, the Phillies should take that into consideration when planning for his potential future with the ballclub.