A boy from the South became a star in the North when the Phillies selected Aaron Nola seventh overall on June 5, 2014, causing Philadelphia's future to shine instantly brighter.
Originally selected by the Blue Jays out of high school, Nola opted to attend Louisiana State University. Nola dazzled there earning SEC Pitcher of the Year honors in both his sophomore and junior years as well as the National Pitcher of the Year as a junior.
After signing with the Phillies, Nola began his professional career in Clearwater (A+), where he held opponents to only four hits with runners on base. After seven strong starts, Nola was on the move-this time to Baseballtown.
Less than two months removed from college, Nola won his Double-A debut on Aug. 6th after allowing only one run to score over five innings. Nola finished that season 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts to just five walks in five starts.
Nola returned to Reading in 2015 a force to be reckoned with, despite his age. The 21 year-old pitcher earned Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May, where he went 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA and allowed only five walks to 32 strikeouts over 40 innings pitched. Over his final 11 starts with the Fightin Phils, Nola went 7-2 with a 1.50 ERA, and ultimately finished his Double-A career 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA.
A lot of change occurred over the next two months, including a mid-June promotion to Triple-A, an All-Star Futures Game selection, and his major league debut on July 21st.
Nola earned his first major league victory a week and a half after his debut, pitching 7.2 innings in the Phillies' 11-5 win over the Cubs as well as helping his cause by hitting an RBI single. Nola's presence on the mound was felt as he went on to a 6-2 record with a 3.59 ERA-winning five straight at one point-in 13 starts as a rookie.
The Phillies hoped Nola would build off his 2015 success this year, and for the most part, he did. Nola sailed through his first 12 starts of the season, cumulating a 2.65 ERA and holding batters to a .212 average. For the time being, a right elbow strain has put his budding career on hold, though, he anxiously awaits his return to the City of Brotherly Love.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.