Cubs Draft Profile: Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola
  • Position: RHP
  • School: Louisiana State University (College), Junior
  • Bats: R, Throws: R
  • DOB: June 4, 1993, Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 170

Scouting Grades from MLB.com – Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 60

MLB.com uses the 20-80 scouting scale for future tools: 20-30 – well below average | 40 – below average | 50 – average | 60 – above average | 70-80 – well above average

If the Cubs are set at taking a college pitcher with the fourth pick in the draft, Aaron Nola might end up being the safest bet among the top college arms. Jed Hoyer has reiterated the Cubs are drafting careers and not seasons and Nola could be part of big league rotation for many years.

MLB.com ranked the right hander from LSU has the fifth best player in the upcoming draft while Baseball America had Aaron Nola ranked as the fourth best right hander that would have been available, but the unfortunate injuries to RHP Jeff Hoffman and RHP Erick Fedde have moved Aaron Nola up the board.

Keith Law mentioned Aaron Nola as a possibility for the Cubs with the fourth pick in his most recent mock draft. Many of the draft experts think Nola will be ready to pitch in the big leagues next summer. And he could be a staple in the middle of a big league rotation for many years. Nola is not projected as a top of the rotation starter.

According to Baseball America, Nola’s fastball sits 93-94 mph and he has touched 95 mph on the gun. BA reported Nola ran his fastball up to 96 mph during a “hyped, head-to-head showdown with Vanderbilt and Tyler Beede in March.” Nola can command his fastball to both side of the plate. Baseball America pointed out that his “fastball command ranks toward the top of the college class.”

Aaron Nola throws from a three-quarters arm slot that “produces sink” on his fastball but he has the ability to “stay on top of his pitches and command them” despite his delivery.

Nola has shown improvement with his slider this season and increased both his strikeout rate (8.7 to 10.7) and walk rate (1.3 to 2.3) by throwing more sliders. Baseball America indicated Nola has lost the feel for his changeup as he’s improved his slider. “Scouts give his slider average or above average grades as he has added power to the pitch” according to BA. MLB.com lists Nola’s changeup as his second best pitch with it “grading as plus at times.”

Aaron Nola Video

The Blue Jays selected Aaron Nola in the second round of the 2011 draft. Nola decided LSU was a better route for him and he’s been the Friday night starter on a very good college baseball team. Nola is 9-1 in 14 starts this season with a 1.42 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. In 101 2/3 innings, Nola has given up 60 hits with 23 walks and 120 strikeouts.

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