Sometimes you want a player so bad that you will go out of your way to entice them. In the 2011 draft, the Blue Jays tried bringing in brothers Aaron and Austin Nola. Toronto scouts had gone out to Baton Rouge Catholic High School in Louisiana and found a high school kid stand out named Aaron Nola. Aaron was a dominating pitcher at the high school level as he went 21-2 over three seasons that saw his ERA drop from 1.85 to 1.50 to 1.00 in each year. He was named Player of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and voted Mr. Baseball for the state. Toronto used their 22nd Round Pick to select the pitcher; to also entice him they selected his older brother Austin in the 31st Round.
Austin and Aaron took the opportunity to play baseball together in 2012 at Louisiana State University and turned down all offers from the Blue Jays. Their one year of being able to play together, Austin who played infield hit .299 with 21 extra-base hits and was named the team’s top scholar-athlete. Austin would get drafted again the next year and is now playing for the Seattle Mariners. Aaron would pitch in 19 games, starting 16 of them and posted a 7-4 record and 3.61 ERA in his first year with the team.
After his brother left, Aaron dominated the NCAA level. Over the next two years, Aaron would post a 23-2 record 1.52 ERA which led to him being draft seventh overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2014 draft. Nola is still just 26 years of age and already has five years of experience with the Phillies that has led to a 53-35 record, including finishing third in Cy Young voting in 2018 that saw him also pitch in an All-Star Game.
Nola is currently signed for three more years in Philadelphia before he can even become a free agent. Through just a fraction of what should be a successful career, Nola has already brought his career WAR to 19.4.