On Thursday night, the Chicago White Sox will select third overall in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. The consensus believes that the Sox will take N.C. State ace Carlos Rodon. Other options with the third pick include Louisiana State University right-hander Aaron Nola.
The Southeastern Conference is seen by many as the best baseball conference in America; a similar belief when it comes to the gridiron as well. Nola was the SEC’s Pitcher of the Year in 2013 and followed that with a stellar campaign in 2014.
Aaron Nola in 2013:
126 innings pitched, 17 starts, 12-1 record (only loss came in CWS), a 1.57 ERA, 122 strikeouts and 18 walks.
- SEC Pitcher of the Year
- First-Team All-America
- National Pitcher of the Year finalist
Aaron Nola in 2014:
116 innings pitched, 16 starts, 11-1 record, a 1.47 ERA (0.83 WHIP), 134 strikeouts and 27 walks.
Nola, a 20-year-old from Baton Rogue, Louisiana, was taken right of high school in the 22nd round by the Seattle Mariners in the 2011 draft.
Personally, I’ve only gotten a glimpse of Nola and that was in Omaha last year, along with Rodon. The thing I noticed most about Nola is he attacks the strike zone relentlessly. The go-to pitch for Nola is the two-seam fastball that comes at you in the low-to-mid 90′s. The movement on the fastball is quite impressive.
The knocks on Nola is his 6’1″, 196-pound frame and his 3/4-arm delivery. With today’s rise in arm injuries for pitchers (specifically the elbow issues), Nola’s delivery does concern some, but there’s no denying how good Nola has been in the last two seasons for LSU.
The two-seam fastball is a unanimous plus pitch. The curve and the change are both considered potentially plus offerings, due in no small part to the angles that Nola can achieve, although which pitch is better is going to depend on when each scout saw the LSU ace pitch. Each of these offerings are commanded impeccably, which – according to many reports – is quite possibly Nola’s best asset as a pitcher.
-Jesse Lund, Twinkietown.com
Bleacher Report’s Mike Rosenbaum sees Nola similar to a guy who spent some time on Chicago’s South Side: Jake Peavy.
I definitely see some Peavy in Nola’s approach to the game. Nola is aggressive when attacking hitters on both sides of the plate and mixes the fastball/slider similar to Peavy.
If I had to guess, I would still say that Rodon is the pick for the Sox at No. 3, but Aaron Nola will be an asset to any organization. His success at LSU and stellar resume will attract many buyers on Thursday night.