The Phillies took the safe bet Thursday by selecting LSU right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft Thursday.
Nola enters the Phillies organization with a lot of hype after dominating the Southeastern Conference during his final collegiate season with the Tigers.
Nola finished the season 11-1 with 1.47 ERA. In 16 starts, he allowed a mere 19 earned runs. Opposing batters hit a miniscule .172 against him during his 116.1 innings on the mound.
Nola’s career in its entirety was littered with accolades, including being named First-Team All-American twice, SEC Pitcher of the Year twice, First-Team All-SEC in 2014 and a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy (best collegiate baseball player) and the Golden Spikes Award (best amateur baseball player in the United States).
Teddy Cahill of MLB.com likes the fact that Nola improved his velocity and strength during his time at LSU:
Whatever led Aaron Nola to LSU, his three years of college have been beneficial. With the help of pitching coach Alan Dunn, Nola has refined his game and is considered one of the safer picks in the draft class. Some of his improvements have been physical, as he has grown an inch or two and put on about 20 pounds since high school. As a result, Nola’s velocity has ticked up and he is able to throw his fastball 92-95 mph deep into games.
The additional strength also helped improve Nola’s curveball, to the point that scouts grade it as a Major League-average, and he is able to get swings and misses with it.
[Video courtesy of Scout.com]