I’ll spare you the heavy dose of Aaron Nola erotica that I want to write with every fiber of my being right now and simply offer this: If you still have any doubt whatsoever that he is among baseball’s elite starting pitchers, then knock that shit off.
Nola followed up his flirtation with a no-hitter against Toronto last weekend by outdueling Clayton Kershaw, arguably this era’s most dominant pitcher, in a 2-1 statement win. Nola allowed a total of three hits while totaling 17 strikeouts in those two games.
His line against the Dodgers: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
In earning his seventh win of the season, Nola flat-out shoved, lowering his ERA to a minuscule 2.18 and WHIP to 0.93.
He currently ranks within the top five in the National League in the following categories: ERA, WAR, WAR for pitchers, WHIP, wins, hits per nine, walks per nine, innings pitched, and FIP, in addition to several other advanced statistical measures.
According to FanGraphs pitch values, his 6.9 wCH means he has the second most valuable changeup in all of baseball. His 11.8 wFB gives him the fourth most valuable fastball. And, oh yeah, he has a top 10 curveball in terms of value, too.
Why is Nola so difficult to hit? Check out this overlay of Nola’s curveball and changeup:
Aaron Nola, Changeup/Curveball, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/2U0sqRgm1U
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 1, 2018
The arm slot for both pitches is identical. Good luck to any batter trying to determine which of those two pitches, which he will throw at any time, are coming.
Let’s see. What else?
Tonight was Aaron Nola's 6th start already this season of 6+ innings and no more than 1 run.
Only pitcher in the majors with more is Justin Verlander.
— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) June 1, 2018
Did he just become a National League Cy Young candidate? Uh, yes.
That’s not hyperbole. By every metric and standard, Nola, in this his third season, has proven himself to be a legitimate contender for the award. And since I’m feeling saucy and want to dream really big, look at this:
Greg Maddux was so filthy 😳🔥 pic.twitter.com/mJk5dEto7K
— Baseball Lifestyle™ (@BsbLifestyle__) July 23, 2017
Tell me those pitches don’t look an awful lot like these ones delivered from the majestic right arm of our sweet prince:
— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) May 27, 2018
Aaron Nola out here throwing a Greg Maddux-level two seamer like it's no big deal. pic.twitter.com/ET9ZBaNjT1
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) May 26, 2018
Aaron Nola 7 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 1 ER, ERA down to 2.18 pic.twitter.com/AgAQXWB5z6
— chris jones¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) June 1, 2018
Get used to seeing more of that, and while you’re at it, if there’s any lingering doubts or tempered expectations about this guy, then get rid of them. You can now say with certainty that Aaron Nola’s name must be a part of any future conversation about the NL Cy Young Award. He has officially arrived.