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White Sox Draft Possibilities: Aaron Nola


Who is Aaron Nola?

He's a 6'1' right-handed pitcher for LSU. His fastball is plus along with his control. His two other pitches, a curveball and changeup, are average right now, but the changeup flashes plus. He is 10-1 this season with 26 walks and 127 strikeouts over 109 innings.  With LSU playing in the NCAA Regionals now, his season is still going.  He actually pitches today for LSU at 1 pm CDT if you can find the game playing.  His college stats are here.

He was previously a 22nd round pick of the Blue Jays in 2011 out of high school, but kept his commitment to LSU.  His brother, Austin Nola, is a shortstop in the Marlins organization.

How does he rank?

What's his game?

His control is currently his game.  He doesn't rely on his stuff as much as Rodon does, and that has been to Nola's advantage the past two seasons.  His two-seam fastball has been mid-90s which helps him induce weak contact when batters do make contact (he has 127 strikeouts over 109 innings this season).

His arm slot is somewhere between sidearm and three-quarters.  That will likely concern some teams, but probably won't be for the Sox.

What does he look like?

Why would the White Sox draft him?

I'll let Baseball America say why.

What else is there to say about Nola? He is truly a master of his craft, and turns in exceptional performances week after week after week. He is clearly college baseball’s best pitcher, and he has been for two years running, putting up absurdly dominant numbers as a Friday night ace in the nation’s best conference.

Why would the White Sox draft somebody else?

The Lance Broadway effect.  "High floor," "everybody's second choice," "solid" are all descriptions that work for Aaron Nola. They aren't necessarily how you might want to describe the third pick in the draft.

Also, as you can see from the prospect rankings, no one has him the top three.  Between Carlos Rodon, Brady Aiken, Tyler Kolek and Alex Jackson, there are a lot of guys with higher ceilings ahead of Nola.

Where's he going in mock drafts?