Philadelphia Phillies: Aaron Nola is the best player in Philadelphia

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 06: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 06: Starting pitcher Aaron Nola /

The biggest question mark the Philadelphia Phillies had going into this season was how Aaron Nola would bounce back from an abysmal season in 2016.

After two months, it looked like he was heading down the same path as last season. Then, June 16th happened. Aaron Nola went six innings in a home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In that start he allowed nine hits and five runs over six innings in a game the Philadelphia Phillies lost 4-5. That was his last poor outing  *knock on wood*.

Since that faithful day in mid June, Nola has been one of the top pitchers in baseball. He’s thrown at least six innings per game while allowing less than two runs per game. Since June 16th, his ERA dropped from 4.76 to 3.12

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Aaron Nola is the first Philadelphia Phillies pitched since 1900 to pitched at least six innings allow no more than two runs in 9 consecutive games.

More from Section 215

Think about every great Phillies pitcher since 1900. Guys like Robin Roberts (Hall of Famer), Steve Carlton (Hall of Famer), Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Halladay. None of those guys, as great as they were in red pinstripes, have done what Nola’s done in his last nine starts.

What does this mean for the 24-year old righty? It means he’s off to a great start. It appears he has overachieved from the “number two-number three pitcher” prediction the Philadelphia Phillies had when they drafted him in 2014. Although it’s a small sample size, it’s beginning to look like the Phillies found themselves a true ace in Aaron Nola.

Not only has Nola proven to be one of the best Phillies pitchers since 1900 (over a nine game stretch), he’s been one of the best pitchers in all of major league baseball this season. Judging by WAR (Wins Above Replacement, explained here) Aaron Nola is tied for 12th in the majors with a 3.6. It’s worth noting that Nola has a lower RA9 (runs allowed per nine innings pitched, like ERA but with non earned runs included) at 3.12, than four pitchers in front of him on the list. Ervin Santana, Zack Greinke, Marcus Stroman, and Jason Vargas all have a higher WAR, but also a higher RA9.

The fact that Aaron Nola has found his name among the best pitchers in baseball is something the Phillies fans should take pride in. In a season that has been historically bad, this is a huge silver lining for the Phils. It’s like a weight’s been lifted off our shoulders, Aaron Nola is the guy we hoped he would be and then some.

I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but I think it’s safe to say that Aaron Nola is the best young prospect in Philadelphia. Carson Wentz, Joel Embiid, and Shayne Gostisbehere have shown flashes in the past couple seasons, but I think Aaron Nola has the best chance to lead his team to a championship the soonest.

The Philadelphia Phillies pipeline is stacked with potential and with virtually no money on the books past this season, the Phillies can turn this horrible season into a perennial playoff team almost overnight. This isn’t to say the other young Philly guys won’t do it, it’s simply my opinion. To return from that brief trip down a rabbit hole, Aaron Nola is looking like the real deal.

Next: Philadelphia Phillies: Who’s next for the Wall of Fame?

To bring it back around, I think it’s unfair to Aaron Nola that more people haven’t taken notice to his past nine starts. He’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball and you rarely hear his name in the national media, let alone the local media. I’m not trying to jinx him, but he’s almost been at Cy Young level this season. He deserves the recognition. The Philadelphia Phillies finally have a guy that they can surely build around and that’s exciting. The future is bright for Aaron Nola, I can’t wait to see how he continues to grow as a pitcher.