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2022 Report Card: Aaron Nola

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2022 has been a very, very good year for Aaron Nola. He’s established himself as one of the best gunslingers in the game, exorcised his demons in September and, for those across the country who may not be familiar with him, introduced himself to the larger national stage.

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All in all, a nice, beautiful, very good season.

2022 stats: 32 GS, 205 IP, 168 H, 75 R (74 ER), 19 HR, 29.1 K%, 3.6 BB%, 3.25 ERA (2.58 FIP), 6.0 bWAR

The good

What can you say more about NOLA in 2022?

He had a few stinks, as is typical of most pitchers, but consistency was needed for a team that had lost a teammate to a lot of stretch runs. His ranking in the stats you often see for pitchers was among the best in the game.

  • bWAR – 6.0 (4th in MLB)
  • Whip – 0.96 (seventh in MLB)
  • BB/9 – 1.27 (2nd in MLB)
  • K/9 – 10.32 (ninth in MLB among SP)
  • IP – 205 (2nd in MLB)
  • K – 235 (4th in MLB)
  • K/BB – 8.10 (1st in MLB)

It’s impressive to look back, statistically, at his season and see where he ended up. He sometimes gets lost in talking about the best players in the game, but this past year should bring him back into that conversation.

bad

One could argue that Nola looked really bad in the NLCS and World Championship And you won’t get much opposition from me. 13 innings were pitched in three starts in the two series and 14 were allowed to the Padres and Astros. It was shocking to see him perform so poorly, but I think we can all admit – NOLA was almost completely spent at that point.

By the time he pitched the San Diego rubber, he had thrown 217 23 roles up to that point, the most in his career. It wasn’t far from his previous high of 212 13 years ago, but considering he delivered what looked like a playoff atmosphere the month prior so if you needed to win the game just to get to October, the emotional and physical toll on his arm was apparent. Do you expect him to dig a little deeper, and use that extra ounce of adrenaline to carry him through his starts? You can, but this can only do so much. In the end, you’ll be up for smoke, and for Nola, those fumes weren’t enough to get him through the finish line still at the level he’d pushed all year.

the recipient

Ah, the meat of the post.

Arguably the biggest question this offseason left for the team to answer is what they will do about Aaron Nola in the future. We all understand that this is his last season under contract with the team and that there is a mutual interest in working on something beyond the 2023 season.

to me VelesNola’s apparent alignment at the top of the rotation with Zack Wheeler for the foreseeable future would make sense for their World Series aspirations. After all, we’ve seen what having two aces in the staff can do during the Wild Card round, as well as the Divisional round. It has been a key component of playoff teams for eons and is becoming more important as the playoff series has gotten shorter and shorter.

For Nola, his value to the team is the living embodiment of Jack Nicholson’s rhetoric in “A Few Good Men,” his ability to recite to Dave Dombrowski and his friends, “You want me on that wall, you need that wall…” whereas he could Compounded at times by his home runs, it’s hard to say he’s not in the game’s top echelon of shooters.

But at what cost? Words have already been written about how much the team has to deliver in an extension bid and there will undoubtedly be more writing as the 2023-24 class free agents dwindle in both quantity and quality. It’s clear the team wants to bring him back at the right price while Nola wants his money one last time before his prime years start showing up in the rearview mirror with more frequency. It’s an interesting discussion that can get a little muddled by what the team does with their top prospects.

Last year, Mick Abel and Andrew Painter moved through the system quickly, and the team needed some late-season boosts. There was the fleeting idea of ​​giving them a start or two in September, but those dreams met the realities of a pennant race and role boundaries, the pair too valuable to be pushed into that kind of spotlight and risk some kind of damage. But what if there is an ulterior motive driving them to move on? Obviously, they were ready for the push the team offered them, but what if they were also moved in hopes that they’d be ready to join the major league roster in time for Nola’s potential departure? The team is pushing against a second tax threshold this year, a year after breaking into the luxury tax threshold for the first time. Is it possible that they are looking to replace Nola with both children so that they can have a more acceptable end result without sacrificing, in their view, in terms of promoting talent and ability? Without throwing the field into a major league mound yet, this seems like a risky move. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong with a spouse — injury, ineffectiveness, steps backwards in development. If they’re counting on them to be at or close to Nola level in 2024, that doesn’t seem like a wise thing to do.

Therefore, as the team moves into next season, the possibility of extending Nola will be discussed and discussed a lot. It’s really one of the only things that “hover” over the team outside of the usual concerns of the team. They should be stunned and give him money. But will they?

The final grade:

It’s been great for most of the year, but we’ve all been pointing at the calendar with extra force, saying, “Do it in September, Aaron, and I’ll be happy.”

Well, that criticism of his game can be brushed off.

Nitpicking in his World Championship performance could bring him down and pin him for some and that would be defensible. For me, the A is pretty much where it needs to be throughout its off-season.

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