PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Phillies farm system came into the 2014 MLB Draft in desperate need of top prospects and hopes are high that first-round pick RHP Aaron Nola will help address that problem.
The Phillies selected the 21-year-old Nola with the #7 pick of the draft out of LSU where he enjoyed a dominant career, going 23-2 over his final two seasons.
Since signing, he has been assigned to high Class-A Clearwater, and in five appearances (four starts) he has gone 1-3 with a 3.80 ERA. Take away his pro debut where he allowed five runs (four earned) in 2 1/3 innings, and that ERA shrinks to 2.37. In 21 1/3 innings with the Threshers, he has struck out 18 batters and walked just three (all three coming in that debut performance).
“It was pretty hectic coming out of college and getting everything started,” Nola tells KYW Newsradio. “But things have slowed down and I’m getting used to everything getting in a routine and everything’s been going great so far.”
He says it has been a transition going from life on the mound in Baton Rouge to life on the mound in Clearwater.
“It’s different in pro ball than in college,” Nola says. “The bats are different, the guys are stronger, the balls are different, the guys have played more games. They are used to the professional life. I had to make a transition and I had to jump in quick and change quick. Because those guys have been here longer than I have, they’ve played a lot more games than I have.”
He breaks down the main changes he has had to get used to since turning pro.
“Biggest adjustment would probably be the six-man rotation right now and then slowly getting moved into a five-man rotation later on,” Nola says. “That and kind of calling my own game and stuff like that. Not having a coach to call the game for you and kind of try and know the hitters more. That’s going to be the biggest adjustment for me is knowing the hitters, knowing the hitters swing. That’s one thing I really want to work on.”
Many have talked about the possibility of Nola being fast-tracked in the Phils’ system, given their desperate need for quality young talent and the high level he pitched at in college at LSU. But he says he has no time-table for his development and arrival in Philadelphia.
“Taking it one day at a time,” Nola says. “When they think I’m ready, then they think I’m ready. I’m not in any rush. I’m just trying to go out here in Clearwater and try and make good starts, make quality starts for myself and the team.”
Nola is slated to make his next start for the Threshers on Friday at Jupiter.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.