By Peter Marks
Aaron Nola is having an ill-timed down year, especially considering he’ll be a free agent this winter.
From 2015 to 2022, he made 203 starts with an ERA of 3.60 along with a 27.5% strikeout rate, 6.5% walk rate and 47.9% ground ball rate.
He produced 30 wins above replacement in that time, according to FanGraphs, a mark topped only by Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander.
Though he was one of the game’s best pitchers for years, that hasn’t been the case in 2023.
His 31 starts have produced 187 innings of 4.57 ERA ball. His 25.2% strikeout rate is a four-point drop from last year and his worst mark since 2016. He is being victimized somewhat by a 65.7% strand rate that’s a bit unlucky, but his 4.08 FIP is still the worst of his career, as is the 31 home runs he’s allowed this season. If any club is willing to look past this year as a blip, Nola could be in line for a nine-figure deal, but time will tell if that’s in the cards. He will receive and reject a qualifying offer.