The Phillies Select Aaron Nola with the 7th Overall Pick

The Phillies didn’t buck the mock drafts and took LSU RHP Aaron Nola with the #7 pick.  I am not a huge fan of the pick, but do not confuse that with Nola being a bad pick.  Most experts thought that #7 was the lowest that Nola would fall, and that he would return value equal to that level of pick.

Nola does not have a prototype  starting pitcher build at 6’1″ 170 lbs and the delivery is very low for a RHP.  Nola’s calling card is plus control and a good feel for pitching.  Don’t confuse this with a lack of stuff, as Nola can get the fastball up to 96, though he is more 92-95.  The changeup is a current plus pitch, and there could be more given his feel for pitching.  The slider is still a work in progress, and given his low slow will likely be a pitch that sees heavy platoon splits.

The attractive part about Nola is that he is polished enough to move quickly and could be in the majors sooner than a year from now.  He will likely start in A-ball this year, but could likely handle AA by the end of the year.  Additionally the command profile makes him the safest pitcher in the draft.  He profiles as a #2/#3 starters and slots into the Top 4 prospect mix for the Phillies, behind Crawford and int he area with Franco and Biddle.

My personal problem with Nola pick is that I would like a bit more upside at #7 and would have taken Jeff Hoffman who went #9 overall.  I think all pitchers carry some inherent risk and I would rather take a player with ace upside and save some money for later picks.  In the end this is a pick I am happy with, especially if the Phillies can save a little bonus money and move him quickly.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

20 thoughts on “The Phillies Select Aaron Nola with the 7th Overall Pick

      1. Here’s what the scout actually said… FYI.

        “Aaron Nola = Mike Leake, IMO; stuff is good, but won’t wow anyone but should get through the minors in a hurry because of his competitiveness and ability to command, mix speeds.”

    1. He was lights out in the toughest college conference, I love the pick. With Hoffman, I don’t think the Phils wanted another injury concern who already had TJ. I can see Nola in the rotation in 2016, he’ll start soon in CWater.

  1. Wolever compared the SEC competition to High A . . . That kinda falls in line with what I was saying that’s all these top high school bats have seen the pitching that Low A ball offers in their showcase events.

    1. Incorrect. That’s a big leap you make with your assumption, and it’s not true. There may be a pitcher or two at these showcases that MIGHT start out in low-A ball. MIGHT. The majority of these pitchers in the showcases would start in rookie league. Majority of pitchers in low-A ball are either college pitchers or high school draftees it foreign signings with at least one, but more likely 2 years of pro experience already. And it’s a big difference facing these pitchers EVERY DAY as opposed to a few ABs at a showcase

  2. So if I am not mistaken eric, the high school kids see college pitchers in the showcase??? and see the international kids, in the showcase. I thought they see other high school kids, who don’t go to low a but gcl to start,

  3. Nola dominated SEC hitters for TWO years…his soph season against a majority of 21 and 22-year olds and this year vs his own age and seniors.
    I like this pick.

  4. I like the pick too, I just hope that between him and Imhof they are not overcorrecting. The problem with previous drafts hasn’t been that the Phillies took high-risk, high-ceiling guys, it’s that they took high-risk, high-ceiling guys almost to the exclusion of anything else. Hopefully there will be a mix of both this time. By all accounts the draft is pretty deep.

    1. Although that’s not completely fair, they took a guy like Adam Morgan who was a college pitcher who really looked like a smart pick until he blew out his shoulder. Sometime low risk guys turn into high risk guys.

  5. I don’t understand the Leake comp nor do I understand why that would necessarily be a bad thing.

    First, I think it is a lazy comp.
    – Nola is 6’1” and Leake is 5’10”
    – Leake sat 89-91; Nola sits 92-94
    – Nola had superior results in a superior conference over a much longer time period
    – Nola has more deception to his delivery
    – Nola’s change-up is already considered plus

    But let’s assume it is a good comp for argument’s sake…why is that a bad thing?
    – Leake had a 3 WAR last year as a 25 year old, and this season he is doing better.
    – That performance placed him solidly with #2 starters (51st overall pitcher)
    – To get that performance out of a guy making $3 million is PHENOMENAL!

    Guys, you win in baseball by having guys like Leake/Nola at low price points. Guys who throw strikes, don’t walk people, pitch deep into games. I happen to think that Nola is a better prospect than Leake was at the time, but even if all we get out of this pick is Leake’s production, then this is a great pick! You win by maximizing results by dollars spent. Nola strikes me as a low risk and relatively high return prospect. He is exactly what we need!

  6. MLB announcers made comparison to Jake Peavy. Interesting to see how they stand up side by side. One other commentator I heard called him a “poor man’s Greg Maddux”.

  7. At the risk of sounding ignorant, when I hear of a guy that sits around 92-95, with no flashy stuff but excellent control and command, I think of one Cliff Lee. How does Nolan compare to Lee (I am not implying Nola is going to be Lee, although I don’t remember Lee being thought of as highly as the pitcher he became)?

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