As everyone is aware Phillies 2014 1st Round pick Aaron Nola will be making his AA debut in Reading tonight. Nola is the first member of the 2014 draft class to reach AA and is widely assumed to be the first starting pitcher from the draft to make his major league debut. So far outside of a rough first start Nola has been as good as advertised in pro-ball with 5 walks and 30 strikeouts over 31.1 innings with a 3.16 ERA.
What to Expect in AA:
There have been some conflicting reports on how many games Nola will pitch in AA. Joe Jordan has said 3-4 starts, but also has said they would like to give him about 25 innings. Either way Nola will be monitored closely and the Phillies will have no problem shutting him down at the first hint of fatigue. Up to now Nola (and other college arm and rehabbing pitchers) have been limited to 5 innings or 80 pitches, which ever happens first.
In pro-ball Nola’s fastball has 91-93, touching 94, he can go as high as 96. The fastball has late explosive life and he can command it to all parts of the zone. The breaking ball has been described as a curveball in pro-ball and sits 79-81 with tight spin. The changeup will flash good bite and sit 82-83, the projection on the pitch has varied over the years, looking at time like a plus pitch. Nola is going to pound the zone with all three pitches.
What to Expect Going Forward:
When Nola is done in AA, he will be done throwing for the year. He pitched 116.1 innings at LSU this year and has pitched 31.1 inning so far in pro-ball, the goal is to get him around 180 innings total on the year. Next spring he might see some time in big league camp, but expect him to break camp with Reading to start the year. The Phillies will likely keep him down in AA and AAA on some sort of innings limit to start the year. If that all goes well it seems like that Nola will make his debut some time in June of 2015 (likely with Super 2 in mind, depending on the big league club’s situation). He shouldn’t be too limited overall innings wise in the majors, and should be able to step into a mid-rotation role fairly quickly.
Nola’s start at Reading will be on milbtv tonight and the archive game should be up tomorrow as well.