No. 3: Aaron Nola
When it comes to Aaron Nola, he has been the heart and soul of the Phillies’ starting rotation for almost the past decade. Ever since making his debut with the ballclub in 2015, he has been through all the ups and downs together with his various teammates during that time and fought hard through it all to the current success they are experiencing today.
In his nine-year career with the Phillies, Nola holds a 90-71 winning record with a 3.72 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, with 1582 strikeouts in 1422 innings pitched in 235 career starts. Among that includes an All-Star appearance, along with being a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award back in 2018. He has also pitched in some important games during the postseason, sporting a 5-3 record with a solid 3.70 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, along with 50 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings of work in nine career playoff starts.
He may not be at the level of dominance as notable aces such as Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer, but he had certainly been reliable and consistent enough for the Phillies over the years to be their de-facto ace starter.
It was just recently announced that the Phillies have re-signed Nola to a huge seven-year, $172 million contract that will keep him with the ballclub until he turns 37. For an annual AAV of approximately $24.5 million, it is a great value deal for the Phillies as Nola likely left a few dollars on the table to come back to the only team he has called home for all his career.
But one thing of note was the fact that he had an off year this past season in which he put up an uncharacteristic 4.46 ERA along with serving up a career-high 32 home runs. So hopefully, he will revert back to his dependable form seen previously for the length of his new contract.
Otherwise, if last season is an indication of where Nola is heading in the coming years, the Phillies could be in big trouble. This tiny speck of uncertainty prevented Nola from ranking even higher on this list.