WHY AARON NOLA IS A BONA FIDE CY YOUNG CANDIDATE!

By Sarah Paley

The defending National League champ Phillies open the 2023 season this Thursday at the Texas Rangers.

And The Athletic projects them in MLB rankings:

7. Phillies

Opening Day starter: Aaron Nola

After winning the NL pennant last fall, Nola may finally be shedding the label of one of the most under-appreciated arms in baseball.

He led (non-Ohtani) pitchers in FanGraphs’ WAR last season, and he is projected by Derek Carty’s THE BAT model to lead again in 2023.

Nola spins a five-pitch repertoire with impeccable command and avoids barrels. He never misses a turn in the rotation, making at least 32 starts in each of the past four full MLB seasons.

The combination of bulk and quality makes Nola a bonafide Cy Young candidate year in and year out, even if pitching at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park dings his ERA.

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