Fans had high hopes for the righty going into the year, and for good reason—he has had a great career.
But a 4.48 ERA over 30 starts this season is probably not what folks had in mind for Nola.
There’s certainly an argument to be made that he has been unlucky this year (his predictive statistics are actually great), but that doesn’t make his campaign any less frustrating.
Today, we’re going to take a look back at some of his more memorable seasons.
We’ll rank his three best.
Let’s get started.
3. His 2019 Season
Nola’s 2019 season was thoroughly solid.
He was a horse, as he led the league in starts (34) and batters faced (852).
He turned in 202.1 quality innings, pitching to a 3.87 ERA, 4.03 FIP, and 1.27 WHIP.
While those numbers might not blow you away, that sort of production is certainly serviceable.
Plus, Nola turned things up a notch in the second half of that season.
He sort of stumbled out of the gate, but over his final 19 starts, he posted a 3.19 ERA and 3.68 FIP.
Not too shabby at all.
2. His 2017 Season
In 2017, Nola really established himself as a rising star.
Fans saw glimpses of success from the former first-round pick leading up to 2017, but this was the year that he put things together over a nearly-full season.
He posted a 3.54 ERA, 3.27 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP across 27 starts.
That looks to be it for Aaron Nola. He threw 168 innings with a 3.54 ERA this season.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 26, 2017
He struck out 184 batters in 168 innings, and he fanned at least seven batters in 16 of his outings.
He was easily the best starter in a Phillies rotation that was a mess otherwise.
2017 was a 96-loss season for Philadelphia, but Nola provided fans with a bright spot.
1. His 2018 Season
The obvious choice for the top spot is Nola’s 2018 campaign.
Surprisingly, he only has one All-Star selection to his name.
Unsurprisingly, it came in 2018.
He pitched to a 2.37 ERA, 3.01 FIP, and 0.98 WHIP across 33 starts.
He fanned 224 batters in 212.1 innings, giving him a solid K/9 of 9.5.
Most impressively, he racked up an insane WAR of 10.2.
That was enough to get him into the MVP discussion, and he finished 13th in the race.
He also received serious Cy Young consideration and finished third in that race.
After finishing third in Cy Young votes, Aaron Nola winds up 13th in NL MVP voting with 16 vote points. Two votes for 7th, 8th, and 10th each.
Jacob deGrom, the Cy Young winner, finished 5th. Max Scherzer, runner-up, finished 10th.
— PHILLIES TBOH (@FS_TBOH) November 15, 2018
Nola didn’t allow more than four runs in any of his starts in 2018
Over the course of a full season, that’s a crazy accomplishment.
He also allowed two runs or fewer in 25 of his 34 starts.
The Phillies went 22-11 on days when he pitched.
Nola and the Phillies are going to spend at least one more season together, and it could very well end up being more.
The team has a club option on the 28-year-old for the 2023 campaign.
The fate of that option will likely come down to Nola’s performance in 2022.
But if his predictive statistics this season are any indication, then Nola will likely return to form in 2022.
All of Aaron Nola’s ERA estimators are still top 10-15 in the NL. That doesn’t mean he’s had a “good” season, but it’s a great sign for the future. He still has all the talent. He just needs to adjust his approach and execution.
— Leo Morgenstern (@morgensternmlb) September 8, 2021
Fans probably shouldn’t put too much stock into his frustrating 2021 campaign.
That said, 2022 will be a telling year.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens.