Phillies Refine Draft Approach, Take Two College Pitchers Early – Phillies Nation

Phillies Refine Draft Approach, Take Two College Pitchers Early

The Phillies altered their typical early round approach this year, going with college hurlers for their top two selections. Choosing 7th overall, their highest pick in 13 years, the Phils chose LSU junior righty Aaron Nola. Additionally, in the 2nd round, the team picked lefty Matt Imhof out of Cal Poly with the 47th overall pick.

Nola, a First Team All-American, posted an 11-1 record along with a 1.47 ERA and a 10.37 K/9 mark in 16 starts. The Louisiana native enjoyed a tremendous college career, twice winning SEC Player of the Year honors while compiling a 30-6 overall record with a 2.09 ERA in three seasons. Nola, 21, stands six-foot-one and weighs 196 pounds. He is often praised for his precision control and is projected as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Nola was previously selected out of high school in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft by Toronto, but did not sign. His college coach, Paul Mainieri, also coached Brad Lidge at Notre dame.

Recent players selected with the 7th overall pick include the Mets’ Matt Harvey in 2010, the Braves’ Mike Minor in 2009, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in 2006 and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies in 2005.

Readers can view video footage of Nola by clicking here.  Check out the media player below to see Nola and his loved ones watching his draft announcement.

After he was drafted by the Phillies, Nola had the following to say to the LSU Sports website:

“My heart has never beaten so fast in my life. I’m glad everything has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m excited to go wherever they send me. It means so much to be a part of the Philadelphia Phillies organization. They have such a great history. Everyone knows Roy Halladay, one of the Phillies’ great pitchers. I’m excited to work with the staff and meet a lot of new people.”

No word on who broke the news of Halladay’s retirement from the game to the youngster.

Imhof, who stands six-foot-five and weight 230 pounds, posted a 10-4 record with a 2.45 ERA and an 11.24 K/9 mark in 15 starts for the Mustangs this year. Imhof is praised for his fastball command. The offering is most often clocked in the low 90’s range. The 21-year-old reportedly also throws a slider and a change up.  Additionally, a key for Imhof is the deception in his delivery, which keeps opponents off balance.

Readers can view video footage of Imhof on the mound by clicking here.

In recent years, the Phillies have often selected “toolsy” high school batters early.  Top selections that have yet to pan out include outfielder Larry Greene Jr., the first round pick from 2011, who has a .652 OPS in 196 career minor league games and 2008 first rounder Anthony Hewitt, an outfielder who was demoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater this week after batting .140 through 34 games with Double-A Reading.



  1. Lefty

    June 6, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Is Nola 6’1″ 196?, or 6′ 2″ 170? I’ve read both in different places.

    • schmenkman

      June 6, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Baseball America calls him 6’1″ 196, and I would trust that. Their analysis of Nola and the rest of the first round picks:

      • Lefty

        June 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

        Better tell Cormican at TGP

      • wbramh

        June 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        Seems all of the basketball prospects (where height is legitimately premium) are at least 1″ shorter than their advertised height after being officially measured at the Combine. Some players have lost as much as two inches.

        Of course, after a kid’s real height is known his promotions people begin to plant stories about how high he can jump.

        As for Nola, he’s already piqued my interest because he can throw a mid-90s sinking fastball and get the ball over the corner of the plate. Find me four Eddie Gaedels who can do that and I’ll show you my starting staff.

      • Lefty

        June 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Yeah but how high can he jump?

  2. wbramh

    June 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I realize that 6′ 5″ pitchers have become the vogue in recent years and the Phillies were in the vanguard of that movement. Most of the fascination seems centered on the idea that a tall guy’s pitch travels a shorter distance.

    Yes, Randy Johnson’s cap was 6′-10″ off the mound and Lefty’s came in at 6′-4″ but before being 6′-5″ was considered the ideal there was Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan (6′-2″), Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver (6′-1″), Carl Hubbell, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn, Allie Reynolds, Robin Roberts, Juan Marichal, Louis Tiant, Greg Maddox and Tom Glavine (6-‘0″), “Smokey Joe” Wood, Curt Simmons, Fernando Valenzuela, Ron Guidry, Pedro Martinez and Tim Lincecum (5′-11″) Mordecai Brown, Billy Pierce and Whitey Ford (5″-10″)… and Bobby Shantz (5′ 6″) to name a few relatively short guys who managed to stick around.

    Phillippe Aumont is 6’-7.”
    Draft me a great pitcher.
    Feed him, later.

  3. Scotty Ingerton

    June 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Keith Law: “Nola has been a dominant pitcher over his past two years at LSU, and while I do have some concerns about the arm slot and breaking ball, this could very well be the very first starting pitcher of this draft we see pitch in the big leagues. He throws everything for strikes, and the deception in his change is outstanding. I don’t think Philadelphia will — or should — rush him, but I would be borderline surprised if he’s not pitching for the Phillies in the fall of 2015. “

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