Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola has morphed from question mark to ace in the blink of an eye.

It’s not easy to fly under the radar in 2017.

But for Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola, the cloak of playing for one of baseball’s worst teams has allowed a former first-round pick to evolve into an ace in the blink of an eye.

If you checked out on the Phillies, here’s an update for you: A healthy Nola isn’t just good or a No. 2 or No. 3 starter so many assumed he would be coming out of LSU. Instead, the Phillies have seen an ace emerge.

Nola’s overall numbers (18 GS, 3.12 ERA, 112.1 IP, 9.4 SO/9, 49% GB rate, 3.55 SO/BB, 136 ERA+) are good, but don’t paint the picture of dominance that’s been on the mound every fifth day over the last two months.

Since June 6, here’s what Nola has done: 80.1 IP, 2.35 ERA, 88 SO, 22 BB. During that span, opposing hitters own just a .600 OPS against the Phillies righty.

While it’s easy to wonder if Nola’s emergence has been a fluke or lacks sustainability, it’s important to remember how good this young pitcher was before suffering a forearm injury early in 2016. When you combine Nola’s April-May of 2016 to what he’s done over the last two months, he’s got a 2.60 ERA in 152.1 IP. At full health, this is a big-time pitcher.

And despite missing a month this season with a lower back strain, Nola heads into play on August 8 tied for 12th among all pitchers in WAR (3.6). Only 11 pitchers in baseball have been more valuable than Nola in 2017.

In fact, Nola’s in a rare group over the last two seasons that combine strikeouts, command and sustainable quality pitching. We’re talking …read more

Source:: New Jersey Real -Time Sports

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