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.

Cubs Draft Profiles
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." - Salvador Dali
Share on Fancred
  • Tony_H

    I know many are calling this a 3 player draft, and the Cubs have the 4th pick, but the more we see these draft profiles and read all the mock drafts, the Cubs have some pretty good options at 4 and depending on if one of the 3 make it to us we can still have the high upside arm to draft. But, I am starting to like the idea of Nola with the 4th pick. His floor seems to be as a SP in the majors and is looking like a solid mid-rotation starter. That’s pretty darn good. I mentioned in the last week that pitchers who throw low 90’s might be the new market inefficiency with all the injuries to the mid and upper 90’s throwing guys.

    But also Gordon and Jackson look to be solid picks at 4 let alone if they try to go with a Pentecost with a well below slot deal to load up on more pitching later in the draft.

    12 days and we will know who the Cubs draft.

    • bpot92

      Yeah I agree, if one of the “big three” drop I think the Cubs take them even if there are any signability concerns (haven’t heard any though) with the thought of best player available and if they don’t sign they get the pick next year. If none of them drop I could see them getting a guy Like Nola or the catcher Pentecost(?) that would sign below value. If Nola could reach the majors quickly and Hendricks is up later this year we could see a solid mid to back end of the rotation at least get their work in and make adjustments so when the time comes for the big prospects to be hopefully ready, they are already in place.