BostonCajun

Aaron Nola 2019 Outlook

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Coming into last season's draft many were touting Nola to make another jump forward and enter the upper echelon of SPs and he certainly did not disappoint. On the surface he looked great finishing 4th in both ERA and WHIP as well as 7th in both wins and strikeouts. Looking under the hood you can tell those numbers were legit. He had the 10th best FIP, 12th best xFIP and he finished top 20 in both K/9 and BB/9. All of these numbers were improvements over his 2017 season including a spike in his SwStr%, which was a nice addition to his arsenal that included the league's 3rd best GB%. 

 

Ok I could go on and on about him because he's been one of my favorite guys to watch progress over the last couple years. That being said does anyone think he will progress even further or do you think we've seen who is and there isn't much room for improvement?

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I'd be surprised if we see him take another big step forward. I think he's capable but he's already among the elite as you pointed out and Kapler rarely lets him go deep in games which hurts his fantasy upside. He also reportedly had great chemistry with former Phillies pitching coach Rick Kranitz who was let go and is now with ATL. 

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I'm not sure if he's capable of another step or not, but his surrounding cast has improved from both a run producing and defensive stand point with getting Hoskins out of the outfield and the additions of Segura and Realmuto. I'm a fan this year.

Edited by Baur10
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7 minutes ago, Baur10 said:

I'm not sure if he's capable of another step or not, but his surrounding cast has improved from both a run producing and defensive stand point with getting Hoskins out of the outfield and the additions of Segura and Realmuto. I'm a fan this year.

I agree that there are a lot of things to be happy about for Nola from this offseason, but I would be a little hesitant to say that the increased defense will be reason for a "step forward" compared to last year, as he got astonishingly lucky from a defensive standpoint last year. It would be fantastic if the defense could perform as well as last year for him, which is what we should be optimistic for with the better defensive players in the lineup.

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I am keeping him in one league at a low rate this year. Other than that, I'm probably going to avoid him this year in redrafts. 

 

The low BABIP and high strand rate combined with a low HR/FB rate last year has me worried. I don't think there is much of a path for him to improve from last year. 

 

Still love the player, just don't know if he's worth where he's going this year. 

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9 minutes ago, jbj said:

I agree that there are a lot of things to be happy about for Nola from this offseason, but I would be a little hesitant to say that the increased defense will be reason for a "step forward" compared to last year, as he got astonishingly lucky from a defensive standpoint last year. It would be fantastic if the defense could perform as well as last year for him, which is what we should be optimistic for with the better defensive players in the lineup.

 

Yeah I'd agree I'm not sure if things improve.  I'm not sure he's going to be a 250K+ guy like some of the guys above him for example.  I just think,  even though he's a guy who became an elite starter just last year, these moves make him a bit safer of an SP1 draft pick than he was in my mind.

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47 minutes ago, to_be_quite_frank said:

I am keeping him in one league at a low rate this year. Other than that, I'm probably going to avoid him this year in redrafts. 

 

The low BABIP and high strand rate combined with a low HR/FB rate last year has me worried. I don't think there is much of a path for him to improve from last year. 

 

Still love the player, just don't know if he's worth where he's going this year. 

 

The high strand rate and low BABIP don't have me worried at all. Take a look at the other guys that rank near him in both of those statistics. You'll notice they are all near the top of the league in SwStr%, GB%, and soft contact%. Nola is no different as he finished 12th in SwStr%, 3rd in GB%, and 6th in soft contact%. All of those are factors that account for pitchers having a high strand rate and a low BABIP. 

 

As for the HR/FB rate last year, that doesn't have me worries either. He finished with a rate of 10.6%, which was lower than Verlander (11.1%) and Snell (10.7%) and just above that of Scherzer (9.7%) and Cole (10%). 

 

While I don't think he will make a giant leap forward I would argue that we still have yet to see the best of Nola. Many of his key metrics have improved for 3 straight years. 

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Pitcherlist thinks 2018 was his career year. They like him a lot, but believe last year was his peak.

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I think we've seen what he is, and I think he'll be about as good this year as he was last year. He's fully cemented himself as one of the top pitchers in the MLB.

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On 2/7/2019 at 8:22 PM, Flyman75 said:

Pitcherlist thinks 2018 was his career year. They like him a lot, but believe last year was his peak.

I feel like this is devaluing him more than it should.

 

2.37 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 9.5 K/9 over 212 IP ... that would be insane to duplicate, he doesn't need to. Even if he had a 2.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9 K/9 that's still an elite pitcher. 

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1 hour ago, StevieStats said:

I feel like this is devaluing him more than it should.

 

2.37 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 9.5 K/9 over 212 IP ... that would be insane to duplicate, he doesn't need to. Even if he had a 2.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9 K/9 that's still an elite pitcher. 

 

2.60 and 1.00 is practically the same. 

 

Most projections have him in the 3.20-3.4 range. 

 

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He will end up with an ERA in the 2.9 - 3.15 range. He has a high GB%, which isn't good when the infield defense is atrocious. Segura will help a bit with that. 

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Phils should sign either Harper or Machado.  That should bump him up another win or two.  LOVE this guy.

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19 hours ago, to_be_quite_frank said:

 

2.60 and 1.00 is practically the same. 

 

Most projections have him in the 3.20-3.4 range. 

 

Ok, maybe I didn't move WHIP much... so let's go more... let's say 0.50 increase to ERA and 0.10 increase to WHIP... sizeable regression... he'd still sit at 2.87 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, with a 9 K/9... that's still a top tier pitcher.

Sure, his .251 BABIP will likely increase, perhaps to the 260-285 range which is common range for other ace pitchers... his 82.5 strand could decrease to high 70s but it isn't that unusual for an ace pitcher and his the amount of strikeouts, ground balls, weak contact, and lack of hard contact he induces that strand was earned.

He was one of only 3 qualifying pitchers to induce 50% or more ground balls, an elite rate. The other two were Arrieta and Keuchel who can't sniff his 9+ K/9. He also induces weak contact at an elite rate, 22.3%, 6th best in the league, and has consistently been above 20% in his career. He allows the least amount of hard contact at an elite rate as well at only 25.1%, 2nd best in the league, and is consistently below 30 in his career... so elite ground balls, weak contact, hard contact, plus a strike out per inning -- guys just flat out can't hit him.

I just don't see what you are looking at in his profile that suggest his ERA is due to increase a full run over last year.... Now I agree with you that there's likely no room to improve like you said before, I'm on board with that... but I just don't see a full run increase to his ERA.

 

Edited by StevieStats
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40 minutes ago, StevieStats said:

Ok, maybe I didn't move WHIP much... so let's go more... let's say 0.50 increase to ERA and 0.10 increase to WHIP... sizeable regression... he'd still sit at 2.87 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, with a 9 K/9... that's still a top tier pitcher.

Sure, his .251 BABIP will likely increase, perhaps to the 260-285 range which is common range for other ace pitchers... his 82.5 strand could decrease to high 70s but it isn't that unusual for an ace pitcher and his the amount of strikeouts, ground balls, weak contact, and lack of hard contact he induces that strand was earned.

He was one of only 3 qualifying pitchers to induce 50% or more ground balls, an elite rate. The other two were Arrieta and Keuchel who can't sniff his 9+ K/9. He also induces weak contact at an elite rate, 22.3%, 6th best in the league, and has consistently been above 20% in his career. He allows the least amount of hard contact at an elite rate as well at only 25.1%, 2nd best in the league, and is consistently below 30 in his career... so elite ground balls, weak contact, hard contact, plus a strike out per inning -- guys just flat out can't hit him.

I just don't see what you are looking at in his profile that suggest his ERA is due to increase a full run over last year.... Now I agree with you that there's likely no room to improve like you said before, I'm on board with that... but I just don't see a full run increase to his ERA.

 

 

Well said. I think that it's lazy analysis to simply say "His BABIP and LOB% are unsustainable, they're coming down" because you're right, he has the skills to back up the improvements he made last year. The weak contact is something I never realized was so elite.  

 

But, I can see the ERA going up to 3.20 if he sees slight regression in BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB rate.

- His xBABIP last year was .284, so he got slightly lucky last year with his .251.BABIP.

- His HR/FB ratio was at 5.3% on August 28th Last season, we started to see that come back down to earth ended at 11%.

 

 

Annotation 2019-02-13 093932.png

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"The breakdown of Aaron Nola's deal with the Phillies: $2M signing bonus 2019: $4M 2020: $8M 2021: $11.75M 2022: $15M 2023: $16M club option with $4.25M buyout The deal can cover two years of free agency for Nola if the Phillies exercise the option."
 
 

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The most expensive year of the deal is less than what deGrom and the Mets settled at for 2019.  I can understand Nola wanting to get a deal done and protecting himself from a bad / injury-plagued season, but I have to think he could have gotten something starting at $6M and finishing somewhere north of $20M.  Huge win for the Phillies front office.

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12 minutes ago, XxxOilOverloadxxX said:

Having him locked down on club friendly deal opens all sorts of doors for the Phils. There's that one guy in 2020.

 

Trout? He'd be 2021. 

But yeah that would be incredible, especially if they nail down Harper as well.  Maybe I'm making this up but I thought I read somewhere that they don't have a ton of money tied up beyond the next few years so they have a ton of flexibility going forward, which happens to coincide with some stellar FA classes.  Could be fun.

Edited by Baur10

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2 hours ago, tonycpsu said:

The most expensive year of the deal is less than what deGrom and the Mets settled at for 2019.  I can understand Nola wanting to get a deal done and protecting himself from a bad / injury-plagued season, but I have to think he could have gotten something starting at $6M and finishing somewhere north of $20M.  Huge win for the Phillies front office.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but he did just sign for four years and $45 million...five years, $61 million if Philly exercises the club option. Club friendly contract, but Nola is set for life with it, and he'll still (hopefully) have years left in his career to sign another contract. 

Frankly, it's refreshing to see a young man take care of his family for life (assuming he uses wisdom, lol) but not gouge his franchise in the process. 

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Cookie Carrasco did basically the same thing back in December. I could see more players (especially pitchers) taking these kinds of deals in this cool market. Great move by the Phillies.

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