Drafted by Blue Jays: 2011 22nd-round selection (679th overall)
Second Draft (as Junior): 2014 1st-round selection (7th overall) by the Phillies
The second of the two high school arms the Jays missed out on in 2011, they quickly realized just how good Aaron Nola was when they watched him pitch at Louisiana State University (LSU) that following spring. He pitched almost 90 innings as a freshman with 89 strikeouts and a 3.61 ERA before claiming SEC pitcher of the year in his sophomore and junior years, the only player to win the award twice. In his sophomore year he went 12-1 with a 1.57 ERA and his only loss was a 2-1 decision in the CWS.
He left LSU as a First Team All-American and National Pitcher of the Year (College Baseball Foundation) leading up to the Phillies taking him with the 7th-overall pick in 2014.
In 2014, Nola was the 42nd-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and he quickly rose to the majors by 2015 where he had a 3.59 ERA over 13 starts. It wasn’t until 2017 that Nola showed signs of a future ace when he amassed 184 strikeouts over 168 innings and an ERA of 3.54 with a winning record despite playing for the worst team in the NL East.
The Phillies playoff push in 2018 was led by Nola as he became that ace for the Phils, being named an All-Star for the first time and an NL Cy Young finalist, finishing third in voting. His 2.37 ERA on the season was second best in the NL, and his 224 strikeouts were fifth best in the NL, both among qualified pitchers. He has been as reliable as they come over the past two years for a starting pitcher under the age of 25, as his 380.1 innings pitched are 11th best in the majors over that period of time.